consultants are sandburs

Saturday, December 20, 2014

RAMSEY - Street assessment policy decision making at this year's final council meeting [readers may recall franchise fees as an issue earlier this year].

Eric Hagen of ABC Newspapers reports in a Dec. 19 online item; with partial detail within the item being:

The new special assessment policy for Ramsey street reconstruction or overlay has a base cost sharing policy of 75 percent covered by the city and 25 percent paid for by the benefitting property owners.

The city’s old policy for reconstruction and overlay projects was to assess 50 percent of project costs.

City Engineer Bruce Westby noted that under the new policy, the city would cover all costs associated with subgrade corrections, new sidewalks and trails and converting a rural road to an urban road by widening it and providing thicker pavement for higher amounts of traffic. Therefore, a neighborhood assessed for a reconstruction or overlay project will not always be on the hook for 25 percent.

Sealcoat projects will no longer be assessed. According to Westby, the city of Ramsey had already started to phase out these assessments. It was a 50 percent cost share in 2007 and decreased to 15 percent in 2012.

As was the case in the old policy, benefitting property owners such as housing developers pay 100 percent of costs of new street construction.

Interested readers are urged to consult the entire ABC item to become more fully informed. Because of time lags in the preparation and approval of meeting minutes ABC Newspapers provides an invaluable service - prompt and tight reporting of events within a tighter timeframe.

May they prosper in the new year, to enable them to continue such a service.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

"Ramsey accepts offer to sell old municipal center site."

[UPDATE NOTE: This report relates to the former City Hall on Nowthen by Ramsey Elementary School. Not the historic building next to the bank on the west side of Hwy. 47 north of Hwy 116.]

The above headline is the headline given ABC Newspaper reporting online here.

"NIK Management Group" is mentioned in the ABC item, and in an online Ramsey agenda, here. In an agenda addendum a different but close name is given; and there was no online Secretary of State listing found for any venture or assumed name exactly as given in the ABC report. The agenda identifies NIK Management Group as "management arm for Bridgeland Development INC."

So, who is the ostensible buyer?

SoS listings identify two entities with names beginning "Bridgland ...".

The SoS listings did include a "Nik Enterprise Ventures, LLC." Whether that's related to Bridgeland or not is unclear. More likely related, "NIK MANAGEMENT, INC."

Again, who is at risk per the offer noted in the agenda? If the deal flips, who do you sue? Or as is more likely, the offer has some contingent escape clause, some condition subsequent to offeree acceptance. With the agenda noting a closed session consideration, and with neither offer being part of the agenda, that's only a guess as to escape clauses and conditional offering. But it likely is a good guess.

The linked agenda has this addendum describing the offeror as NIK MANAGEMENT, INC.

Names do matter, and the ABC reported name and the agenda[addendum] reported names differ enough to note that this is not pitching horsehoes where "near" matters more.

With an email address: nealkay@live.come, that could be anyone but it most fits the SoS entry for NIK MANAGEMENT, INC.

Aside from the offeror name confusion, the ABC Newspapers report gives detail omitted here, so readers are urged to go to that resource.

_______________________
D. R. Horton submitted an offer, and it is not presently clear from reporting or the agenda whether they remain in a back-up offer status, should the NIK deal for any reason flip. Presumably that is so, but the old saying about many a slip twixt cup and lip could include a flip without a backup blip.


___________________UPDATE__________________
Not throwing caution to the wind is always a wise thing. NIK appears, from addendum materials, to be presently attempting marketing of a multi-apartment project, apparently so, in Williston, ND.

With oil now under $60 per barrel and uncertainty as to how the drop in crude pricing will affect the North Dakota oil boom, due diligence on the part of Ramsey's real property marketing agent, in bringing an offer in such a posture, might include its sniffing around that situation.

It is not as if a first-rate nationwide operation such as CBRE is incapable of checking out the question of liquidity of the offeror, given the Williston red flag.

____________FURTHER UPDATE_______________
If for any reason, including neighborhood sentiment, the deal does flip; what's the harm?

That is a proper perspective to keep with the key development worry (a half built thing) less relevant for detached single family housing than for something like the Flaherty Town Center rentals project. Also, detached single family development has traditionally been by private financing, i.e., unlike something like the Flaherty Town Center rentals project.

There is a lot to be said on getting a good price for the property, then getting out of the way and letting developer risk/reward gambling do its thing. If the land is sold at a discount, or other indirect subsidy given, the deal is less appealing than otherwise.

And, cash upfront, for land - rather than payments as and when lots are sold to builders, or however else this developer proceeds - is always best from a pure seller perspective. With it publicly owned land, there is an unavoidable policy dimension at play. But folks need places to live, so policy issues should weigh less against this kind of development.

Policy aims should be for a transparent process where neighbors get their chance to voice a choice. However, there the adage if you want to control the adjacent vacant land you buy it, has to apply in that neighbor objection killed the likelihood of the land being developed as a data center. Only so many bites at the apple are properly accorded adjacency. There needs to be a balance between neighbor sentiment and town sensitivity to it, and the interests of the entire public (taxpayers) in getting cash for unused town-owned real estate while getting the town out of real estate development as completely and quickly as is reasonably possible.

Last, it appears that adjacent housing is of a sewer/water lot-size kind, with new housing to be the same, so that a key issue from past times, density transition, should not be relevant to this sale. Neighbors should look at proposed density, that would be the wise thing for them to consider in terms of impact upon their own property values and their enjoyment of their own properties, yet as the agenda was written, detached single family homes were the proposal, not anything involving dense, shared-wall housing. [ADDED NOTE: There is shared wall housing in the vicinity of the land; on the triangular land bordered by Alpine, Nowthen Blvd., and Sunfish Lake Blvd. However, south of Alpine single family housing is the norm. Immediately adjacent to the old city hall land, that housing is understood to be all detached single family density.]

Ramsey joins Anoka County in raising property taxes.

The County's action, earlier noted in a Crabgrass post, here.

Ramsey's action, reported by ABC Newspapers, here. The nose count on the city tax increase vote was not given in that report (or did I miss it?).

Important to the future; the Ramsey HRA and the stealth budget line it imposed during earlier councils has been eliminated.

Remember who pulled that separate second tax ploy, or it might happen again. Hagen of ABC Newspapers in his report notes:

The HRA governing body was the same seven members of the city council.

“It essentially was a second layer of government. We didn’t even move seats for our meeting,” Council Member Chris Riley said.

Although the word “housing” was in its title, the HRA was the legal entity that owned city property, including land in The COR where the city wants to not only bring more residential rooftops, but commercial developers as well.

Riley said the council has been discussing this for a year and felt this was the best move to be more transparent. The costs of city staff time and any consultant costs that come up and paying broker fees for land transactions must still be paid by the city but will now be covered by the general fund.

After approving the budget, the council approved dissolving of the HRA. The council previously transferred all assets from the Ramsey HRA to the city, so this vote Dec. 9 was the last step, according to City Attorney Joseph Langel.

The first proponent of this move was Council Member Randy Backous, the last president of the Ramsey HRA. Closing down the HRA is one of his last actions as a council member. He chose not to run for re-election after his one four-year term.

Backous said the city’s HRA levy was listed under the other tax authority section of the property tax bill and not included within the city property tax line item.

“One of our greatest accomplishments this year was dissolving the HRA and getting that hidden tax on the books,” Backous said.

Neither David Flaherty nor Ryan Cronk, to my knowledge, are on record one way or the other about the Ramsey HRA's demise. Hagen did not report whether Matt Look had anything to say of it either.

It is unknown whether Reflections in Ramsey will editorialize over either Ramsey step; the levy level or the HRA's downsizing to zero.

NORTHSTAR: On time, or we pay the dime.

Strib reporting.

US policy on Cuba.

This whitehouse.gov link.

Granma online, English edition, is a few days behind so we cannot yet see official commentary on the policy change there.

UPDATE: DC pundits speculate, always putting their particular frame around things beyond things; here and here.

Comments from Rushbo listeners are welcome. What does the Great Rushbo have to say - please, in a nutshell, not Rushbo style.

UPDATE: Strib coverage, which is speculation-free as to political sidebands.

FURTHER UPDATE: A reader emailed noting reports of a Papal role in normalization efforts per U.S. - Cuba relations; something notably absent from the agendas of the two Popes preceding Francis. Francis has been good for the Vatican as a relevant twenty-first century factor.

E.g., this report.

FURTHER: This Strib carry of a Bloomberg op-ed.

And, wow.

Done without Dennis Rodman doing any traveling.

CITY OF NOWTHEN - This Friday, tomorrow, a special meeting.

Knowing little of the history behind it, the notice is posted without comment (click the thumbnail image to enlarge and read):


Ramsey's neighbor to the north, its actions and its news, should be of interest to us here; indeed, county-wide.

Relevant reader comments are welcome. Comments putting the notice in a context would be particularly helpful. What is afoot?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Flaherty in Cincy redoing a deal. Scaled down with a new city administration in office, still subsidized, differently so.

There is public subsidy money.

Leopards do not change their spots.

This link. And here.

Irons in the fire, heating up in several towns, yet always - that subsidy sweetness.

UPDATE: bizjournals.com reports on the downsizing.

FURTHER UPDATE: cincinnati.com reports, and with a pleasing subsidy in the works the word is:

Flaherty & Collins chief executive David Flaherty said the company loves Cincinnati and sees how new residences would make Downtown more vibrant. "We're pleased to be where we are today," Flaherty said.

Flaherty said the development company wants to build a signature multifamily development in Cincinnati that will feature resort-quality amenities. He said developments have the potential to attract people who aren't living in the area to Downtown, and he expects the site to attract people who have average annual incomes of about $100,000 a year. Rents are expected to be between $1,400 and $2,500 a month.

In Cincinnati, Flaherty & Collins also developed the 302-unit Boulevard at Oakley Station apartments, which opened earlier this year.

While building designs for Fourth and Race are still being developed, Flaherty & Collins vice president Jim Crossin said the highrise will have a modern look with lots of glass to provide residents great views of the city.

Let's see - that's "a signature multifamily development," which is no less than "resort quality," "with lots of glass to provide residents great views."

And a subsidy for good measure.

Monday, December 15, 2014

NFLPA v. NFL, a lawsuit over the Peterson suspension/arbitration, filed in federal court, Minneapolis.

What do you think?

After a bit of web searching, I have to admit to being unable to find the Vegas betting odds on outcome of the case. It has to be on the boards. A gut feeling is the odds favor Peterson, given the recorded but since repudiated Troy Vincent promises that now are alleged to have been beyond Vincent's authority as League agent to have made on behalf of the NFL.

If you cannot believe the NFL's Vice President of Active Player Development since February 2010, who can you believe.

Promises? Not a promise? A mere "representation" of a believed outcome, but always subject to Commissioner absolute discretionary power - even to be arbitrary and capricious in letting others talk and then pulling the rug out from under conversations thereby had?

It has an appearance of classic bait and switch by League management.

Offer one outcome via an agent offeror, tout its lienency in inducing reliance by the offeree, then switch after reliance on the part of the offeree happens. It's like a misrepresentation, negligently permitted to be so, if not an intentional League flim-flam fraud.

It's like advertising "never needs ironing," but then it turns out ironing's needed. That level of things.

So, Peterson/NFLPA should win, or not? We wait to find out. Since it's in court with a decision awaited we can speculate any way we like. I'd expect at least 2-to-1 odds favoring the Peterson/NFLPA contentions winning. Bet two, get one if Peterson wins; get a two for one return if you bet on the league and the league wins.

So, that's a guess while I remain curious.

What do the bookies say?

Any reader with a link on actual lawsuit outcome odds being offered the betting public is urged to offer a comment.

Having earlier challenged "Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less," as politician blowhard rhetoric, ...

Terry Hendriksen by email challenged me because of current pump prices for gasoline. What do you say now, was his question.

Globe and Mail has what is a representative but extended analysis of the current oil market. Here.

This rather extended mid-item excerpt may be regarded by some as relevant to Hendriksen's question:

It’s too early to call “mission accomplished” for the Saudis. The OPEC leader is playing a long game in order to preserve its oil market share by making life difficult for the high-cost oil producers, and its strategy is showing early signs of success.

The quick reaction time by some of the high-cost producers, notably the American shale oil drillers, is why one of the world’s foremost oilmen, Sadad Al-Husseini, the former executive vice-president of Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil and gas company, is becoming bullish on oil even as Brent prices sink to the low $60s.

“If you go down low enough, as we are now, you’ll get to the point where there is little investment, which is what we’re going through,” he said in an interview in Al Khobar, the Saudi city filled with Aramco employees in the country’s oil-rich Eastern Province. “You will force the excess out of the market and demand will take you back up. That is what is about to happen.”

‘Strength of the profit motive’

Mr. Al-Husseini, 67, worked at Aramco until his retirement in 2004 and was a member of its board and its management committee. During his Aramco career, he was instrumental in making 20 discoveries, including vast gas fields and the central Arabian and Red Sea oil fields. He is now president of Husseini Energy, an oil consultancy based in Bahrain that advises financial institutions and the oil services industry.

He admits he underestimated the “strength of the profit motive” that turned the United States into a shale oil powerhouse. Since 2010, U.S. shale oil production is up by three million barrels a day. But he feels confident that waning investment is already hitting production growth and that prices won’t fall much farther as the supply-demand balance tightens up.

“When prices come down 40 per cent, you’re not going to keep spending like there is no change,” he said. “My guess is that by the end of second quarter of 2015, there will be a returning confidence in oil. Does that mean it will go to $115? No, that was never a sustainable number. Could it go as high as $80, maybe $90? Sure.”

Unlike some of their more vulnerable OPEC partners like Venezuela and Nigeria, the Saudis can afford to be patient and wait for the market to recalibrate. But it too faces fiscal pressure as it spends heavily to diversify its economy and provide social benefits to a young population. The International Monetary Fund estimated early this year that Saudi Arabia needed an oil price of $89 (U.S.) a barrel to keep its budget out of the red, up from $80 in 2012.

U.S. shale oil is generally far more expensive to produce than Saudi oil, which has the lowest pumping costs in the world. Shale oil wells deplete rapidly, meaning a lot of them have to be drilled constantly to keep production intact.

The upshot? Shale oil output is much more sensitive to falling prices than Saudi oil, and the market is beginning to work its magic. Although the U.S. rig count remains well above the level of a year ago, it saw its biggest drop in two years this week and has declined in six of the past nine weeks. And it’s expected to drop sharply next year.

Estimates of break-even costs for new production in the three key shale basins – the Bakken, Eagle Ford and Permian – range from $60 to $70 a barrel. But there is wide discrepancy in the actual break-even costs for each well, and companies will focus spending on their best prospects.

“Balance sheets are going to force discipline,” said David Pursell, an analyst at Tudor Pickering & Holt Co. in Houston. “When we look at basin economics, there’s just a handful of core areas that make economic sense to continue to drill at even $70 crude. ... Companies will drop rig count very quick to stay within cash flow so they don’t see their balance sheets unravel. And they can unravel very quickly if they maintain the current activity level into 2015 at a much lower oil price.”

Most vulnerable are the smaller exploration and production (E&P) companies that have taken on debt as their spending outpaced their cash flow, and Mr. Pursell said the high-yield debt market on which they rely is already showing signs of nervousness. Companies like Range Resources Corp. and SandRidge Energy fall into that category.

The Tudor analyst sees the rig count dropping by nearly a third from the recent 1,600, but said it will still take several quarters before production growth slows. He predicts U.S. production will rise by 592,000 barrels a day next year and 226,000 in 2016, after growing by nearly one million barrels a day this year.

In a release Friday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration also indicated it will take time for the impact of lower prices to be felt in the supply picture. The EIA forecast that U.S. production will average 9.3 million barrels a day in 2015 – up from 8.6 million in 2014 and closing in on Saudi’s estimated 9.60 million daily output.

Mr. AL-Husseini is no fan of the theories that the decision by OPEC (read: Saudi Arabia) not to trim the cartel’s 30-million– barrel-a-day production quota at its November meeting in Vienna was a political act of war aimed at punishing Russia and Iran for their support of the al-Assad regime in Syria or aimed solely at choking off U.S. shale production.

He said it was a market decision designed to trim high-cost production wherever it lies, including Brazil’s offshore fields and Canada’s oil sands, to end the oil glut. An OPEC production cut would have only propped up prices, he noted, “subsidizing the high-cost oil at the expense of low-cost oil,” the latter being Saudi Arabia and Gulf allies such as Qatar.

Among the high-cost producers, there is no doubt that U.S. shale oil would be quickest to trim investment and thus output. Mr. Al-Husseini said that, even if oil prices were to remain fairly strong, the shale industry’s ability to deliver ever-higher production would not be assured. That’s because shale wells are short-lived creatures. His research says that shale oil (and natural gas) wells decline at a rate of 50 to 70 per cent a year, “requiring intense capacity replacement drilling.”

That means shale fields require more and more drilling to maintain production and that gets expensive. At the huge Eagle Ford shale field in southern Texas, some 4,500 new wells will have been drilled in 2014, of which 3,800 are required just to maintain production.

Web search can yield comparable though shorter analyses, some better than others; e.g., somewhat randomly picked items online here, here and here. And here, suggesting stock market players should not bet against the energy sector long-term.

Birinyi said the stock market will steady once it's gets more information on where oil is going. "It's going to be another one of those adjustments the market is going to make," he said.

Since oil began falling, the S&P energy sector has lost 24.3 percent, while the next worst market sector, telecom, was down just 6.2 percent. In the same period, health-care stocks have risen 14.4 percent and tech has risen 9.2 percent.

"This will encourage people who are less than enamored with the stock market. They will use this as a reason to hesitate," Birinyi said.

If you expect pump prices to remain as they are, or to fall further with the per barrel oil price continuing to drop, you may be right, you may be wrong, but the short term and long term may differ while renewable energy prices continue to drop and electric automobile expectations play out, such as witnessed by the Tesla mega-sized Lithium battery manufacturing investment as a factor that should also play into oil pricing. But as with Econ. 101 supply/demand blackboard sketching and accompanying dogma, it is the higher cost new entrants attracted by inflated prices making them profitable, and they are the same to exit a market when prices drop below their break-even point. And that seems to be the fracking truth or more importantly the fracking expectation in what is playing out these days from wellhead to gas pump.

Adjustments likely will be made. "Recalibrate" is the one single word one might focus upon, if having to choose but one in the above excerpt. Like the GPS unit, "Recalculating, ...".

UPDATE: This online report, with interesting chart accompanying commentary.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

"So the question arises, is the muck on the boots, or in them?"



The headline is from Steve Timmer/LeftMN, online here, see also the parallel post at Bluestem Prairie, here. The opening image of beautiful downtown Elk River in Sherburne County [Mary Kiffmeyer land] is from the Bluestem Prairie item.

Each of the two linked items speaks for itself, and goes without quote or comment here.

One good thing to be said of Elk River is they have an excellent bakery housed beneath a fine pizza outlet; all independent of the Kiffmeyer spouses but there nonetheless.

Readers are encouraged to comment as to whether there is anything else good to say about Sherburne County and its current and former politicos such as GOP bible-throwing wife-beater Mark Olson. There and Otsego, where the dream began.

The Adrian Peterson saga, making labor understand management is held to different standards because labor/management relations cannot be allowed to get out of their proper God-given balance within their proper Ptolemaic sphere, in harmony as it is, has been, and forever shall be.

A Strib poll result, and you can vote here to add your belief.

Vikings all-star running back Adrian Peterson used a tree switch to discipline his 4-year-old child, leaving welts and lacerations. He entered a nolo plea to a misdemeanor child endangerment charge in Houston, Texas.

Zygi and Mark Wilf were found in court to have defrauded business partners of millions of dollars and in the course of doing so also to have violated the civil RICO statute in New Jersey. Reportedly to the tune of $85 million dollars.

Peterson got a year's hiatus from his job. A big time pay hit. The Wilfs got a highly subsidized stadium built for them which immensely upgraded the value of their NFL franchise.

The Peterson suspension is all about league image? Do you believe Goodell and the Wilfs could care about how Peterson relates to his family, aside from its impact upon image, (and hence upon league and team revenues)?

You decide that one. Decide in terms of the NFL mandated penalty [none] imposed upon the Wilfs for a multimillion dollar fraud upon partners to whom they owed a fiduciary duty of honesty in dealings - a duty of utmost serious scope and impact. They ran things, and the silent partners were disadvantaged greatly by the ethics of how the Wilfs used their holding the reins of power in running a real estate development adventure and accounting for profits thereby made - and Roger Goodell did not even say boo. League image took a hit, but it was not Roger's business.

Now, your decision ...

But there is more. Reusse in an online Strib sports editorial sub-headlined, "His son would be better off with his dad back at work," makes the case that Roger Goodell's actions are more about league image maintenance than player-family substantial best interests; yet, not surprisingly, he declines to juxtapose a Wilf [management] years-long ongoing civil RICO level of misdeed with the Peterson [labor] misdeed because he understands labor/management relations, (possibly as being beholden for his Strib paycheck); or also plausible, he chose not to see any scale of things or any cause to juxtapose Wilf conduct against NFL honesty "standards" with that being a judgment call he made wholly independent of any aspect of his regular paycheck.

Can you say, "Double Standard"?

Sure you can. As many ways as you care to. You can express any opinion you want as long as your facts are correct. Peterson, Wilfs, NFL, Goodell, Reusse all did as they did, and it is opinion how those things square up, and what conclusions or opinions can be drawn from the totality of the factual picture. So, read this, and ask yourself, not me, whether a pack of hypocrites are afoot.

By the way, Developers ARE Crabgrass. A related question worth thought is whether the Wilf developers' conduct left a greater stain and tarnish upon the NFL's precious pure gold image than either the Peterson or Ray Rice off-field conduct. Sure fans don't pay to see the owners own, they pay to see the players play; but nobody has ever questioned the quality of Peterson's or Rice's capability, skill, and dedication on the field.

__________UPDATE__________
Don't take off your thinking hats. Here's another one for you. Read this, the [according to the Peterson decision rationale a] not-new policy of personal conduct already in existence but now only fleshed out in detail; one relating to and governing all, ostensibly for the good of all:

This Personal Conduct Policy is issued pursuant to the Commissioner’s authority under the [NFL] Constitution and Bylaws to address and sanction conduct detrimental to the league and professional football.

This policy applies to the Commissioner; all owners; all employees of the NFL, NFL clubs, and all NFL-related entities, including players under contract, coaches, game officials; all rookie players selected in the NFL college draft and all undrafted rookie players, [...]

It is not enough simply to avoid being found guilty of a crime. We are all held to a higher standard and must conduct ourselves in a way that is responsible, promotes the values of the NFL, and is lawful.

If you are convicted of a crime or subject to a disposition of a criminal proceeding (as defined in this Policy), you are subject to discipline. But even if your conduct does not result in a criminal conviction, if the league finds that you have engaged in any of the following conduct, you will be subject to discipline.

Prohibited conduct includes but is not limited to the following:

- Actual or threatened physical violence against another person, including dating violence, domestic violence, child abuse, and other forms of family violence;

- Assault and/or battery, including sexual assault or other sex offenses;

- Violent or threatening behavior toward another employee or a third party in any
workplace setting;

- Stalking, harassment, or similar forms of intimidation;

- Illegal possession of a gun or other weapon (such as explosives, toxic substances, and the like), or possession of a gun or other weapon in any workplace setting;

- Illegal possession, use, or distribution of alcohol or drugs;

- Possession, use, or distribution of steroids or other performance enhancing substances;

- Crimes involving cruelty to animals as defined by state or federal law;

- Crimes of dishonesty such as blackmail, extortion, fraud, money laundering, or racketeering;

- Theft-related crimes such as burglary, robbery, or larceny;

- Disorderly conduct;

- Crimes against law enforcement, such as obstruction, resisting arrest, or harming a police officer or other law enforcement officer;

- Conduct that poses a genuine danger to the safety and well-being of another person; and

- Conduct that undermines or puts at risk the integrity of the NFL, NFL clubs, or NFL personnel.

[italics added] It seems to be saying that a civil court record suggesting extended, intentional dishonesty, even short of a criminal conviction for dishonesty, is prohibited and sanctionable conduct. Does this suggest that the Players Union should be looking at that document and demanding the Wilfs be sanctioned in due proportion to their violation of its express wording [which ostensibly is only fleshing out existing policy]; i.e., sanctioned per the New Jersey court's civil RICO decision making given that "racketeering" expressly is a prohibited action not needing a criminal conviction to be sanctioned as detrimental to the NFL? A Civil judgment of civil RICO breaching conduct surely is "disorderly" conduct in the sense of whether it "undermines or puts at risk the integrity of the NFL." Said another way, defrauding of minority silent partners is surely not an orderly way of business, even for developers, despite whatever is its actual frequency of occurrence.

Or not?

Sauce for the goose IS sauce for the gander, or not? The document does say what it does, and the Peterson decision clearly shows the document was/is intended to have retroactive reach among all of the NFL family members. Wilfs too? Feet to the fire?

Or is the Players Association better off in simply saying "End the Bullshit?"

That's, again, a matter of opinion.

And if a Michael Vick animal cruelty plank is expressly stated, why not also red flag the Paul Hornung - Alex Karras betting on NFL game-outcomes situation? Hornung and Karras were white, like the Wilfs, while Vick is black like Peterson and Rice, but the policy is racially neutral or at least postured that way. Sure the generic rubric of "detrimental to the enterprise" can be invoked, but why do they not say betting on games is Verboten? Do owners from time to time bet, is that a factor? Has an owner ever been sanctioned for anything by the NFL? (The NBA sanctioned Sterling, allowing a fast-track no questions asked sale of the Clippers to Steve Ballmer for two billion, so you tell me, does that count for much an anything per labor/management standard setting?)

__________FURTHER UPDATE__________
Is this the NFL ownership/management theme song (on YouTube) - its view of God's proper and established labor/management relationship? One that Peterson's stand-up-for-your-rights intransigence in dealings breached? And is it the intransigence and not the misdemeanor that actually resulted in the severity of the imposed penalty? Despite what the sanction appeal decision of Goodell's appointee wrote? There's a ton of circumstantial evidence that's been reported, and much the public does not yet know.

FURTHER: We do know that contemporaneous August 2013 from-the-courtroom-scene reporting was:

The Wilfs’ business partners claimed family members systematically cheated them out of their fair share of revenues from Rachel Gardens, a 764-unit apartment complex in Montville, by running what amounted to “organized-crime-type activities” in their bookkeeping practices that gave the Wilfs a disproportionate share of the income.

Wilson found that Zygmunt Wilf, along with his brother, Mark, and their cousin, Leonard, committed fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty and also violated the state’s civil racketeering statute, or RICO.

The partners, Ada Reichmann of Toronto and her brother, Josef Halpern of Brooklyn, the longtime former on-site manager at Rachel Gardens, are entitled to compensatory damages, punitive damages, triple damages under the RICO statute, a redistribution of revenues dating to 1992 and reimbursement for their attorneys’ fees, Wilson said.

“The bad faith and evil motive were demonstrated in the testimony of Zygi Wilf himself,” Wilson said.

Wilf’s “candid and credible” testimony detailed how he felt Reichmann got “too good a deal,” and he “reneged” on the arrangement initiated by his uncle, Harry Wilf, back in the 1980s, when construction began on Rachel Gardens, Wilson said.

It is hard to imagine that the Wilf stuff described in the report is orderly conduct, or conduct enhancing the reputation and public goodwill of the League (even among other apartment developer owner-operators). The judge's language was explicit and excoriating. Did Adrian Peterson do worse? Is the Peterson punishment disproportionate in light of the blind eye Goodell turns toward same-team ownership mischief? (Is the Pope Catholic?)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Micro Center has some low priced small tablet products, "WinBook" brand.

This page. In owning and using the 7-inch and 10-inch tablets (with keyboard/cover added for the latter), I am satisfied with product quality and capability - although every electronic item should be fully checked out for functionality or defects within the vendor's free-return period (be sure to ask about that before buying anything).

On the 7-inch WinBook I have set it for ongoing maximum screen brightness, and still get around 3 - 4 hours of battery life per charge. Keeping it near a charger is always wise, as with any portable electronics. Long term durability is presently an unknown. And whether next year there will be obsolescence worry, the market always moves toward encouraging further purchases. (Look at Apple and its messaging to its cult following, that way.)

If you key into brand names, Microsoft has an HP 7-inch tablet model for sale that is also available at Office Depot [i.e., also OfficeMax, after the merger]; currently priced at each outlet for $100. Note, however, the WinBook products each have a standard USB outlet, and in reading specs the HP unit has the charging port doing double duty as a micro-USB connection, so if you use an adjunct item, e.g., external storage, you cannot keep the item tethered to a charging unit and have to rely on battery life.

The WinBook 7-inch item I have has been run through several charge/discharge use cycles, it has done Bluetooth handshaking with headphones, and I equipped it with a 64 gB Samsung EVO microcard for extra local storage. There is the cloud, with Microsoft using initial device use to channel people to its OneDrive (previously "SkyDrive" but rebranded), and it offers several gB of free storage for users before monthly surcharges are imposed for usage of greater amounts of cloud storage.

The high resolution display on the WinBook tablets is great, and there is a magnifier utility you can toggle via the "Ease of Access Center" choice off of the Control Panel; and if you like using the magnifier regularly you can easily pin it to the taskbar for ready access. Touchscreen usage is okay, but if you run regular desktop items such as the Firefox or Comodo Dragon browsers, you need good eyes for menu and submenu choices, and either a special touch or a stylus to avoid repeated wrong option selections. A 7-in diagonal screen is small, but if you have an iPhone and either a special touch or use a stylus, you are already there. If all you intend is use of Windows Store apps, resolution and detailed touch-menu choices will not be a factor. The Win-8.1 OS for the tablet comes with a range of preloaded apps for basic use functionality, and there is much user configuration flexibility via the Control Panel main menu.

If you were taken in on the Windows XP end of lifecycle support via the end of monthly update availability for XP imposed by Microsoft earlier this year, be aware that the Windows 8 lifecycle end is set for Jan. 2018, presently.

("Windows 10" apparently will be the next release and it is unclear whether initial purchase of it will include monthly updates, or whether a monthly service charge might be imposed for updating, now that Microsoft has made top management changes while it, like any firm, is looking anew for ways to monetize whatever it can. But that is a separate story. If you want freedom from that, consider Linux.)

Interested readers can do a "Windows With Bing" and/or a "WIMBoot" web search to see how Microsoft and its OEMs can cram a trimmed down Windows 8.1 OS into a quick booting unit with only 1 gB of working memory, with space left for apps and such.

There's an online fatwallet thread about the Micro Center WinBook offering. If you are looking for a convenient web browsing portable tablet (and YouTube player), that has connectivity that an iPad may lack, and at below iPad pricing, it is good to know that the holiday marketplace has a bottom feeder offering range besides Chromebooks running Google's ChromeOS.

LAST: If you do any shopping at Micro Center at its Saint Louis Park location, please join me in a nagging campaign to encourage them to consider opening a north-end outlet at the vacated K-Mart site on Hwy 10 in Anoka. It is unlikely, they seem to be a single outlet per city-metro regional retailer, but nag them anyway.

Municipal Broadband coverage at Ars Technica website; an update.

Recent coverage on the issue of municipal ownership/operation of a broadband utility; here and here. Earlier content, here. Click the opening "Ars/UNITE ... [COUNTDOWN]" image, here; or use this link to submit a comment to Ars.

Local public officials in particular are urged to submit comments.

Seize the moment. Towns not part of the future will be passed by, or given inadequate overpriced underpowered service by commercial provider/operator/franchisees and then passed by.

Anoka County Commissioners raise property taxes.

Ben Dover, the county taxpayer.


This ABC Newspapers report.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Flaherty/Collins - This time Collins walking point, in Kokomo, with of all things, a tax-break subsidy.

This online report calls it a "Dinosaur Tax Credit." This excerpt:

The Indiana General Assembly established the Industrial Recovery Tax Credit -- nicknamed the "Dinosaur Tax Credit" by state lawmakers -- to redevelop large, vacant, very old "dinosaur" industrial facilities that are considered both an eyesore and a financial drain on communities. It allows developers and communities to receive up to 25% of the cost of redevelopment in the form of state tax credits.

IEDC's Board of Directors unanimously approved the Dinosaur Tax Credit for the Kokomo apartment complex, allocating $5.235 million for the project. The city of Kokomo will contribute another $6.9 million in tax abatements, grants and other incentives. The developer will pay the remainder of the anticipated $23 million dollar price tag, according to IEDC.

The state's decision to grant the credit is especially unusual because Flaherty & Collins announced Tuesday that it plans to fund the project by selling the $5.235 million in state tax credits to a third-party investor in exchange for cash.

Dinosaur?

_________UPDATE_________
More Flaherty/Indiana/shared-wall rentals coverage: same project, here; another project, in Indianapolis 'burbs, here. Rendering of beauty in the eye of the beholder, here. NOTE: The second reported project (the one in the rendering) was described without giving cost or financing detail within the cited article. Any reader discovering financing info for it is urged to submit a comment with a link.

__________FURTHER UPDATE_________
High-rise Flaherty subsidized shared-wall rental in downtown Indianapolis, is reported as slowly moving toward realization, details here.

Market Square Tower is getting off to a slow start, but the project is still a go, with groundbreaking expected in "very early 2015," said Brian Moore, the marketing director for the developer, Flaherty & Collins Properties.

The developer is still working on getting financing, Moore said.

___________FURTHER____________
Kokomo Times, Dec. 10, 2014 reporting:

The developers are expected to build around 180 high-end units in the 104-year-old former Northern Indiana Supply Company building, 304 S. Main St., which will place the complex near the city’s new $9 million municipal baseball stadium.

“Flaherty & Collins is the most respected developer in the Midwest, “said Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight. “This is a really big deal.”

On Tuesday, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. unanimously approved $5.235 million in tax credits through the rarely-used Industrial Recovery Tax Credit, also known as the dinosaur tax credit.

The tax credit was established to help redevelop large, vacant, old buildings.

Because the building is more than 100 years old, the developers were able to claim the maximum possible from the dinosaur tax credit, which allows developers and communities to receive up to 25 percent of the cost of redevelopment in state tax credits.

“We are very happy with what has gone on so far with this project,” Goodnight said. “We very much appreciate the IEDC.”

Flaherty & Collins plans to fund the project by selling the $5.235 million to a third-party investor in exchange for cash, according to Indianapolis television station WTHR.

“Flaherty & Collins applied for the dinosaur tax, which was a very important hurdle,” said Goodnight. “However, we still have many more hurdles to jump.”

The city will contribute $6.9 million in tax abatements, grants and other incentives, while the developers will pay the estimated remaining $23 million of the project’s cost, according to WTHR.

A complete timeline for the project has yet to be set, but one should be announced within the next couple weeks, Goodnight said.

Plans presented at the IEDC meeting called for amenities such as granite countertops, hardwood floors, a swimming pool, a fire pit and high ceilings, WTHR reported. The apartments are expected to attract affluent tenants with a rental price of $1.15 a square foot.

"Flaherty & Collins is the most respected developer in the Midwest." Gotta be true. The mayor says so. Will he or some other official Kokomo decision maker end up with a spousal employment situation? Only time will tell.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Eric Garner video.

Online on YouTube, this link.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

The Business Journal does not outright say the grand juries were rigged, but reading between the lines there is an inescapable parallelism; and no killer cop indictment in either instance.

This link. "... screwed up" in the headlining of the item is a euphemism. Then, here is a Google link of images of ham sandwiches, for any one of which a skilled prosecutor wanting to, could gain a grand jury indictment. Then, here is a link to a toilet sanitization product. Give each of those two prosecutors a super sized replacement bottle. A product like that can go fast, and each prosecutor ended up making each suspect officer smell like a sanitized rose.

RAMSEY - Just as Flaherty's rentals by the rails in Town Center are renting out at low vacancy and high rents, (at least for now); equal low vacancy rates have been achieved by Flaherty in Orland Park [Chicago 'burbs]. UPDATED.

This link, a generic Chicago Trib report on high-cost suburban rentals notes specifically about Flaherty:

Ninety7Fifty on the Park, a 295-unit development in Orland Park that opened in the spring of 2013, is 94 percent leased, said Brian Moore, a spokesman for its developer, Indianapolis-based Flaherty & Collins Properties.

Financial success, for Flaherty: short term - fat city; long term - wait and see.

______________UPDATE_______________
There's more. Flaherty's rentals by the rails tenants should ask about security cameras.

This link; another Flaherty upscale-swank thing, (or not), but this excerpt:

A long-time resident of Indianapolis' largest apartment community says her landlord isn't doing enough to protect its tenants after a string of vandalism reports at the complex.

Westlake Apartments, a complex with nearly 1,400 units, is located on the west side near Interstate 465 and Rockville Road.

[...] someone had thrown a concrete gutter-splash block onto the front windshield of her car, which was parked right in front of her apartment.

The vandalism comes less than two weeks after a Domino's pizza delivery driver was robbed and attacked while making a run at the complex.

[...] Gilley said she doesn't think there are any security cameras and there's only one courtesy officer who oversees the entire complex. She argues that it isn't enough.

"We would be out walking at night, enjoying Westlake. It's a beautiful place to live. We have a beautiful lake. But now you can't. You can't even sit out and have a cookout or anything in the summertime, because you're fearful," Gilley said.

The complex is also hosting a crime watch meeting on Dec. 16.

A Westlake employee told RTV6 that management works closely with the Indianapolis Metro Police Department.

Brian Moore, communication director for the complex, said an average of 100 hours each month is invested by private officers through IMPD and that neighborhood watch meetings are held each month.

Jill Meals-Herron, vice president of property and asset management for Flaherty & Collins Properties, said that the safety of Westlake residents is top priority.

Get that, Flaherty renters; "a top priority." Nothing less.

Given the rents Flaherty is getting, he can afford a well positioned host of security cameras as another "upscale amenity" of the privilege of living there (or whatever jargon is today's fashion in place of "upscale amenity").

Indeed, it would be no surprise to find out that security camera systems were part of the original scheme, with no retrofit needed. Or not? Ask the landlord or the local landlord's rep.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Andy and Rachel - A new look at Residual Forces.

http://residualforces.com/

Without ever meeting Andy face to face, but reading his published thinking, the hope here is that he continues the blog posting, while having the happy personal life that seems to be his present focus.

To the couple, may you have a long and happy time together and may all your children be above average, (after all you are living in Lake Wobegon where that is the norm).

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

If we can believe the story as factually true despite its source: At least there is one capable and honest lawyer with the power to indict, and the will to see justice done. It's good we as a nation elected him.

Barack Obama filed federal civil rights charges against officer Darren Wilson moments after a Missouri grand jury found “no probable cause to indict” the officer in the shooting death of Ferguson teenager Michael Brown.

Obama’s sixteen-count indictment cites “multiple, unwarranted civil rights violations resulting from harsh and excessive police tactics leading to the death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, Jr.”

“I have done what the Missouri judicial system and even my own Justice Department failed to do in order to right this wrong,” said Obama, shortly after St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch announced the grand jury’s decision. McCulloch made a 25-minute statement [...] appealing for calm and taking questions from a small group of local media.

Reports of mounting tensions between Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder over the AG’s handling of events in Missouri surfaced over the summer, culminating in Holder’s September resignation announcement after serving 6 years as Obama’s Attorney General. Obama made no reference to Holder or to his own civil rights lawsuit against Wilson during a live statement from the White House press room reacting to the grand jury’s decision.

Those following this link will see that the opening of the item which includes the above quoted factual claims was interlaced with an offensive, bogus, presumptive and inflammatory editorializing opening phrase; making the entire item from the very start of the post, and later, more an editorial than a report.

The remainder of that item, including the content where the ellipsis appears above (i.e., editorial content apart from the factual claims as they stand quoted), is both scurrilous and conclusory while pandering to passions of those opposed to a President who, race aside, dislikes a whitewash. (Add race as it attaches to the Wilson shooting of Brown; and gee, a double meaning.)

That the omitted content is suspect can be inferred from the website's using leading banner images of Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin, in the site's identifying itself and its prejudices. You cannot doubt whose political worldviews you are being propagandized with; yet, the above quoted facts, hopefully, are correctly stated.

Not finding any corroborative reporting along the lines of the item content is disturbing. Indeed, more disturbing if it is true content strangely unreported more universally, and less disturbing if it is specious meandering of a single biased outlet. If there was immediate Presidential action as the item states and it has been undermined as if not news, one must wonder who defines the near universal direction and content of coverage of the St. Louis County Attorney's grand jury presentation and its having its foreseeable effect.

More Brown-Wilson-Ferguson coverage, here, here, here, here and here.

Readers having other links in line with or contradictory of this "National Report" presentation are urged to submit comments with links. While the N.R. factual averments are intriguing if true, the outlet and its reporting has to be regarded as unreliable without confirmatory second sourcing.

UPDATE: N.Y. Times links to an annotated online transcript of Wilson's grand jury testimony. It's too bad Brown is not around to have testified to his version.

FURTHER UPDATE: Neither here, nor at whitehouse.gov was there any easily identifiable corroboration of the N.R. claim that the President moved quickly and decisively in a manner many would applaud as just, or as in pursuit of a complete and just evaluation apart from the grand jury in St. Louis County looking at whether state criminal statutes were breached by police officer Wilson.

That the grand jury was irregularly handled has been suggested based on opinion language written by Justice Scalia, as reported here and here.

This Google presents images of ham sandwiches, in line with commentary within one of the sidebar items.

FURTHER: Good commentary here.

More.

LAST DEPARTING THOUGHT: The Wilson weapon held 13 rounds. Wilson fired twelve rounds [his testimony plus shell casing count] in a RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOOD. That's insensitive to the dangers, given he only hit Brown six times. Where the other rounds ended up, without bystander injury, is a miracle. Wilson showed a disregard for human safety he likely would not have shown in a white neighborhood. It's that simple. He consciously kept his final round chambered but unfired, to contend with circumstances. He was that cautious for himself. But bystanders, screw them. He was pissed because of uppity things Brown might have said. Wilson could have made up any story he wanted given he shot the other witness dead. Through the top of the head. Wilson is a dangerous killer. Endangered? Get real. He had a petty crime suspect retreating, and blasted away as if he were Schwarzenegger. What's his IQ?

The federal government should avoid a similar whitewash. Worse, that tainted grand jury process; making the grand jurors triers of fact rather than determinants of whether a threshold suitable to put facts to a trial, their actual job, and that was orchestrated by the prosecutor in chief, whose behavior was unconscionable.

_____________UPDATE AND HAT TIP______________
Terry Hendriksen emailed this link, which states in opening:

Claim: President Obama filed federal charges against Darren Wilson moments after a grand jury's decision not to indict him was announced.

FALSE

Example: [Collected via email, November 2014]

there is an article that states Obama filed federal charges against Darren Wilson following the grand jury decision.

Is this true?


Origins: On 25 November 2014, the National Report published an article titled "Obama Files Federal Charges Against Darren Wilson Following Grand Jury Decision in Shooting Murder of Michael Brown." That article claimed President Obama had filed "federal civil rights charges against officer Darren Wilson" immediately after a Missouri grand jury declined to indict the policeman in connection with the shooting death of Brown.

Describing Obama's putative decision as the "boldest overreach" of executive power in American history, the site quoted the President as saying:

"I have done what the Missouri judicial system and even my own Justice Department failed to do in order to right this wrong," said Obama, shortly after St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch announced the grand jury's decision. McCulloch made a 25-minute statement debunking several exaggerated social media accounts of last August's incident, while defending the use of deadly force by police, appealing for calm and taking questions from a small group of local media.

In the aftermath of the controversial grand jury decision in St. Louis County, Missouri, the story spread quickly on social media sites. However, National Report is a fake news site known for publishing click-baiting, fabricated stories [...]

So, that is it. The federal government is moving at its usual glacial pace; if moving at all. End of story.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Reuters reports on unwanted but likely needed immigrant/migrant labor.

This link.

That, and try this:

There are only three solutions. Retired people must live on less, they must work longer or they must save more during their working lives. The last two options may be preferable, but they are not easy.

First, the problem. The average period in retirement has risen from 13 years in the 1960s to 20 today. There is a 50% chance that one member of a retiring couple will live to 92. The average age of retirement is 64, lower than it was in the 1960s.

For most people, the main source of their retirement income will be Social Security, the government pension.

The same second linked item, in closing, notes that so far:

The government could also increase the minimum retirement age under Social Security from 62 to 64. That would require assistance for those who are physically unable to work in later life but it would encourage able-bodied citizens to keep working. Congress could also redesign tax incentives in favour of the lower-paid, matching pension contributions (with a limit) rather than making savings tax-deductible, which gives the biggest gain to the richest. Politicians seem to assume, however, that changing Social Security in any way will lead to their own retirement.

Those fostering generational Angst, as for example locally in a Minnesota House race, will be persistent - as long as voters allow it. Given Wisconsin's First Congressional District's penchant to keep reelecting Paul Ryan, the dark forces need be less than fearful. And what about the nation's state legislatures, given local experience?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A day when politicians both local and national can rest assured.

The turkey slaughter by now is over, those slaughtered being now oven ready.

They made it through the harder days.

Last, a caveat - a setback -


________________UPDATE_______________
This item was forwarded via email. Another item, different theme was sent by a different email from a different person; and now I find that both are online at a Facebook page for a Sunny Lohman (whoever that is, somebody's celeb). There are a few items there some may find offensive, but in terms of thug/gangsta, this is a milder example. I am not judging, I just give a link. Reader comments?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Anoka County Regional Rail Authority: Thick skull bones? Flat learning curve? Say it ain't so, Joe. What's needed are Ryan Cronk and Darren Lazan and monthly payments to round out the usual ways with the usual suspects.

David Flaherty with his hand out.

Peter Bodley reporting here for ABC Newspapers on what some might regard as deja vu, all over again. This excerpt:

Only one response for Riverdale project
By Peter Bodley -- November 25, 2014 at 8:02 am


Only one response was received by the Anoka County Regional Rail Authority from request for qualifications sent to 18 developers in an effort to sell and develop 15.9 acres of vacant land it owns adjacent to the Riverdale Northstar Commuter Rail station in Coon Rapids.

[... The] lone response to the RFQ from Sand Development, LLC proposed a 50-unit, 100 percent rent and income restricted apartment building on 2.5 acres of the site. It offered to pay the rail authority $375,000 for the site, but requested tax increment financing assistance. [...] In addition, the tax increment financing assistance sought by Sand was more than it was willing to pay for the land, according to County Commissioner Scott Schulte [...] “We were disappointed by the lack of response,” Schulte said.

[...] According to Schulte, the next step is for rail authority staff along with Ehlers & Associates, the consulting firm hired by the rail authority to work on the project, to contact one of the developers the task force had previously spoken with and had provided some drawings prior to the RFQ to see if it would be interested in developing a project in partnership with the city and rail authority.

The developer that has been chosen is Flaherty and Collins, [...]

According to Look, the council members on the task force were “taken aback by the quality of the project” and thought it would be a good fit for Riverdale.

[...] “But wanting it and being able to afford it are two different things,” Look said.

According to Look, the council members on the task force were “taken aback by the quality of the project” and thought it would be a good fit for Riverdale.

“But wanting it and being able to afford it are two different things,” Look said.

Look is not certain how interested Flaherty and Collins will be developing the Riverdale site because it currently has three projects under way and is courting two other cities in which to locate developments, he said.

Another issue that would have to be addressed with any project is the subsidy that would be sought – whether from the city in the form of tax increment financing or from the rail authority in writing down the land cost for the developer to buy the property, acording to Look.

He doubted the rail authority would be willing to write down the cost of the land from what was paid to purchase it, Look said.

The rail authority paid $2.3 million for the vacant land in 2003.

Yeah. I was kind of "taken aback" by that Flaherty stuff in Town Center too. Flaherty hiring choices and all.

And what about that bit about Ehlers advising and Flaherty being allowed frontrunner status before the RFQ was circulated? That's downright raw, is what it is. I am "taken aback" by the audacity of such frontrunning abuse of what should be a fair, open and unbiased bidding process. (Like what, pick your date in advance and then pose as if independently arriving at the dance?)

Readers are urged to read the entire online report Bodley authored.

_____________________
Note, red highlighting added to the Bodley item in order to denote usual suspects (amid some usual econometric brainstorms, deeds, and M.O.). Ramsey people should remember in 2009 when Look and colleagues bought the foreclosed destressed Town Center vacant land from bank foreclosure - for millions of town dollars. Same old deja vu ... Public dollars, bitcoins, whatever was/will be spent -- it is NOT real money from the perps own pockets, (where prudence is a first and last concern). Schulte is a new name, but with the saga the same. Build the Indianapolis mavens big free prime parking ramp space, and like Field of Dreams, they might with much delay and subsidy, come. At least the Rail Authority bought in 2003 and not after the market went splat as with Look in Ramsey (note that the 2003 purchase was before Look had any clear hand in county board dealings while the Ramsey raw land purchase deal, and the instigation of Flaherty/Cronk/Lazan dealings began while Look was influential with mayor Bob Ramsey and others then on Ramsey's council. Minutes from back then show Judge Dehan, who was then on council, being concerned about fair bidding norms.)

____________UPDATE___________
While expressing above some immediate thoughts, in fairness it needs to be said that short term at least, the Flaherty town center rental housing is being rented out. The market demand for rental housing in the metro area has made it so. In the long term, as Keynes said, we're all dead; and beyond that the ultimate writing of the Flaherty thing as good or not so good for Ramsey will need to happen after I will no longer be alive to read it. So, short term, I have to concede the idea was timely if not eternally sound. And people will always need places to live.

If the county and the rail authority work something out with Flaherty, one hope would be Cronk and Lazan are absent from the situation, but others may feel they were instrumental in the Flaherty rental happening rather than being one more deal that flipped. The market was bad throughout the period Lazan's firm was drawing city money, and that's excuse enough for his not producing more and better, but it is not excuse enough for continuing the payments when it was clear the commensurate productivity was lacking.

If the county and rail authority do cut some deal, and Cronk and Lazan are absent, it would have to be judged on its reasonableness and whether time and patience might have been better; and that, again, is a long term judgment.

And for now, it is all tentative. The chance there might have been Flaherty frontrunning permitted and/or encouraged by officials is troubling, but as of now it has resulted in neither harm nor gain.

The best line of official conduct for now seems to be maintaining patience with the property while trying to answer why no immediate development interest was generated for the land and the development opportunity.

Then, whatever the ultimate development decision may be, it should be subsidy free, unlike the over-generous approach taken with Flaherty with regard to his Town Center effort. It is almost as if the opening image might be used in closing; do not give a subsidy, be patient.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014