consultants are sandburs

Monday, December 27, 2010

Disjointed thoughts, advertising and "The COR" as part of the dumbest advertising, Budweiser, and a recent STRIB item.

A test of age and how the hucksters might have gotten into you head; your recollections; this link. Younger readers, (if any), this might give you ammo for when parents are disrespectful of things you take seriously, you can ask them about the Maidenform Bra ad.

This link.

Okay. Transition. Advertising, still.

Swill beer, sold not on its quality, but on jingles and thin views of who their consumer targets are; what else, BUDWEISER, this link -- this screenshot, and read it and weep if you drink the stuff:

Transition. Courtroom drama, sort of but not really. Don't expect Witness for the Prosecution or To Kill a Mocking Bird, nor the Scopes trial. Instead, the sometimes quaint details of jury selection; STRIB carrying reporting from Missoula, MT, a very nice college town in the mountains (with nice shops and restaurants) - this excerpt:

The problem began during jury selection this month in Missoula, when a potential juror said she would have a "real problem" convicting someone for selling such a small amount. But she would follow the law if she had to, she said.

A woman behind her was adamant. "I can't do it," she said, prompting Judge Robert Deschamps to excuse her. Another juror raised a hand, the judge recalled, "and said, 'I was convicted of marijuana possession a few years ago, and it ruined my life.'" Excused.

"Then one of the people in the jury box said, 'Tell me, how much marijuana are we talking about? ... If it was a pound or a truckload or something like that, OK, but I'm not going to convict someone of a sale with two or three buds,'" the judge said. "And at that point, four or five additional jurors spontaneously raised their hands and said, 'Me, too.'"

By that time, Deschamps knew he had a jury problem.

Do you suppose the Missoula prosecutor might have had a similar revelation? Perhaps? They sometimes can be bulldogs, attaching and not letting go, but the best ones stay attuned and have high conviction rates when they cannot swing a plea bargain or when they choose not to bargain (if it's high profile and near election time, mortgage broker fraud, Petters or some such).

Do you think Denny Hecker had a pleasant Christmas? Anyway --

If you find yourself in Missoula, Grab Some Buds. Or whatever. But remember Slick Willie and don't inhale.


The COR. Dumb as the dumbest on the list linked to at the start of the post. Darren's version of the Maidenform Bra dreams. A salute to it, via this repeat Crabgrass image of Darren teaching all nuanced things to a klatch of seven, each a gentleman-scholar:

Finally, enlarge that Slick Willie close-up to where it's full screen and then some on your monitor, and be scared out of your socks by the mood of it - but then understand, advertising can be effective in securing its ends and results. Call it "NAFTA face;" because advertising is advertising.

(Please leave a blog comment if the face image, enlarged, gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling. I would like to know if that effect takes hold.)

I almost forgot.

Advertising can be more crass than you'd ever, ever have imagined:

If that image ever showed up as evidence in a Missoula courtroom, would the terminology be "hucksteror" and "hucksterees?" I'd view that as proper, in Missoula, where they know a hucksteror when they see one.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

I don't know how well it works, how long it might work, or whether it will work under the soon to be fully public Google Chrome OS. But it is a Chrome browser addon in line with the sidebar link to the EFF and ACLU and what each stands for in terms of privacy as properly an inherent civil liberty.

With that headline, the item is a disconnect utility you can add to lessen or wholly avoid tracking of your access to and use of the internet, the web, the websites you access and how you interact with each. Private parties attaining and cataloging and selling usage pattern data seems inimical to who we should want to be as a nation. It is bad enough the NSA listens to us without any redress or means of stopping it, but at least there may be a good chance to curb the information privateers.

This link is to the blog, where you can unwind things from there to download the browser addon - not yet available for FireFox or IE, but intended to be so during the first quarter of 2011. I could put a ton of links in but if you Google the man's name and the DISCONNECT name together, you will get news links and installation info you might miss from the single above blog link.

Exactly how the website connections will work, if the tracking is disabled, is probably a case-by-case experience to encounter once the utility is installed. I only learned of the addon days ago, and installed it today, so I have no user experience to report. It certainly is not an addon that Google's pages have prominently featured. Yet they have not flamed it off their search engine returns either, much to their credit.

CNN-Tech has an online report, here. It is good for background on things, since to my knowledge there's no Wikipedia page online yet about the product or the author.

Screenshot, this link. As always click to enlarge and read. The link is to the installation page for this Google Chrome addon. Apparently it installs on at least one other chromium-based browser, SRWare Iron (note the flag toggle, for the page in English).


"If the founding fathers had planned the revolution by telephone [or on the Internet], we'd still be singing, God Save the Queen." - Michael Tigar

Cleaning up sidebar polling - two still open re Northstar-and-Ramsey; others have closed, with these results.

As noted earlier a past sidebar poll indicated general approval from the limited sampling to make the Armstrong Blvd. - Alpine intersection a four-way stop instead of only two-way, particularly if the pedestrian-biking path is extended westward from the intersection.

More recently closed poll results:

RAMSEY: Plans are afoot to "dedicate" 300 spaces of the citizens' parking ramp to private use, perhaps generating official talk of building another ramp.

Good idea - four votes - 12%
Bad idea - twenty-two votes - 70%
Don't care - five votes - 17%

Again a limited sampling, but a clear citizen attitude shows through - among Crabgrass readers, at least.

RAMSEY: Would you like to know whether Landform is getting money from the developers of the housing that would have 300 ramp parking spaces "dedicated" to it?

Yes, for knowing that - 23 votes - 82%
Not a good question - 0 votes - 0%
Don't care - 5 votes - 17%

Similarly limited sampling, and potential bias in the sample, but the clear suggestion is the City should make a clearer and more prominent and transparent presentation and disclosure of what Landform gets, commission on this deal as well as monthly cash flow, and request a Landform accounting of cash flowed to it by the developer-promoter of this project [as a condition of NOT cancelling the city-Landform contract on 30 day notice per the City's option - to avoid a stonewall], with the result of that request prominently reported.

Transparency is good. Sunshine is the best disinfectant. Brandeis wrote that first in 1914, and it is as true now as ever.

NOTE: The closed polls have been removed from the sidebar, once the results have been published via this post. Only the two Northstar-Ramsey polls remain open (another 20 days remain - both polls being set to close midnight, Jan. 15, 2011).

Our Colleen, person of the year, congressional challenger - consigned by Strib and PiPress to the dustbin of has-been whistleblowers?

Seriously, I am appalled. Colleen Rowley, this Wikipedia. She ran against Col. Klink, after all, and that alone merits eternal gratitude. Never carried the nuclear football for the Carter team, and came in a distant second in that election; but I google for the Google News on "Rowley," and get only this.

I have to go to Brad Blog to learn that there is some very important December's news about Colleen Rowley??

So, tell me, is being against war, in general and against both of the current ones, non-news in Minnesota, Rowley's home state?

Strib and PiPress are either ducking the issue of war dissatisfaction, or asleep at the switch. Owned apologists for the status quo? What?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Pig pays, but no punishment fully fits such a criminal or such crime against humanity.

Wikipedia reports, a Dec. 22, 2010 sentencing - punishment for colossal inhuman unforgivable crime:

Jorge Rafael Videla (born August 2, 1925) was the de facto President of Argentina from 1976 to 1981. He came to power in a coup d'état that deposed Isabel Martínez de Perón. After the return of a representative democratic government, he was prosecuted for large-scale human rights abuses and crimes against humanity that took place under his rule, including kidnappings or forced disappearance, widespread torture and extrajudicial murder of activists, political opponents (either real, suspected or alleged) as well as their families, at secret concentration camps. The accusations also included the theft of many babies born during the captivity of their mothers at the illegal detention centres. He was under house arrest until October 10, 2008, when he was sent to a military prison.[1] On July 5, 2010, Videla took full responsibility for his army's actions during his rule. "I accept the responsibility as the highest military authority during the internal war. My subordinates followed my orders," he told an Argentine court.[2] On December 22, 2010, Videla was sentenced to life in a civilian prison for the deaths of 31 prisoners following his coup d'état. 

The uniform sucks, the individual - not at all the joke the crappy uniform is; a swine.

Go figure. One down. Thousands and thousands to go.

May each and every one be hunted relentlessly, apprehended, put to trial, convicted, and punished - president of whatever nation - advisor to whoever - giving the orders - "carrying out orders."

"The bastard is a sociopath of unparalleled order." You want to say that. However, there unfortunately are too many parallel bastards alive and unpunished as yet, so do not ever cease feeling rage or lessen your feelings of disdain.

Wikipedia has links, and tells more of the story beyond the quoted opening paragraph of the post.

In terms of government run amok, unlawful and clearly knowing better while fashioning unpresentable fig leaves that the compliant part of the press honors; few will take the time to read, but all should read of the scorn due the torture facilitators and abettors who should be called to task and not given professorships suggesting honorable status; this link.

There is an interesting motion memorandum online; this link. Related links perhaps of interest to civil libertarian readers; here, here, here, here, here and here; all items relate to the Lynne Stewart situation, as presented within a general website (where readers interested in the story and the details can ferret around the court papers posted at that site until sated):

Every story, real or fiction, has ambiguities.

Does any reader know whether Ron Paul, as a Libertarian (including civil libertarian aspects), is on record one way or another about Ms. Stewart?

My expectation is he would believe the government imposed initial rules that were excessive and against her client's rights and ability to present a defense, and that he would agree with Ms. Stewart's assessment in her opening remarks of the last item linked, that she should have fought the impositions from the start instead of how she handled things. I expect he'd view the entire situation as at least somewhat out of line with his view of civil liberties and the proper size, scope and actions of government. He probably would also believe that Ms. Stewart bore responsibility for her conduct, within the range of things she accepted initially, and given her status and experience.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

NOTE: A new Ramsey-related sidebar paired poll - open until Jan 15, 2011. Someone should be asking ---


1- A WANT vs. A NEED?


The two new items on the sidebar are self explanatory.

The glorious plans are to drop fourteen million of tax money - be it all from Ramsey [possibly yet more bleeding of reserves], or a mix of Ramsey tax money and tax money from other sources, such as Uncle Sugar; Met Council; Yantos, personally, as a donation out-of-pocket, etc. Santa and the Tooth Fairy will NOT fund it, so, is it a want or a need? Would YOU ever use it, and if so, with any frequency?

My guess is that Elk River and Anoka stops will wholly suffice, but readers are requested to weigh in - and I am asking it because - YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED - nobody at city hall or at the council meeting table seems to be at all intent on having this kind of community-wide answer.

I.e., in going hell-bent to have it, nobody in positions of power and responsibility really wants to have any kind of a referendum, (which is better than a sidebar blog poll), but you get the best I can provide.

I cannot make the learned and esteemend gentlemen on council hold a referendum, not without a groundswell of public demand.

So go for it. It's there. Two dimensions --- want vs. need; and would you ever use the thing, ever, or on anything like a frequent basis.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Bruce Nedegaard's lender, Community National Bank, croaks. Taken over by Iowans. The North Branch branch lent to Nedegaard, and closed before failure of the Lino Lakes operation.

The Sandisons and Martinson, and their pleas were mentioned; this link. The "failed Ramsey Town Center" was also mentioned. Bets are on, how long will it be before news reports mention "the failed Ramsey COR experiment." Whether the COR adventure will have its share of guilty pleas, and by whom, are questions time will answer.

Parallel coverage, PiPress; Strib; and here and here. This excerpt from PiPress reporting:

The FDIC said in a statement this evening that customers can continue to use their existing branch, and can access their money by writing checks or using ATM or debit cards. Loan customers should continue to make their payments as usual.

Community National was the lead bank in a $35 million loan development deal involving 20 banks that would fund Ramsey Town Center, which was envisioned as a $1.3 billion mixed-use development but ran into trouble when the developer defaulted. The development has since been renamed COR, for City of Ramsey, and plans adjusted.

Three of the bank's former top officers were indicted on dozens of federal fraud charges in connection with the deal. William Sandison, the bank's former president, his son Ross Sandison, also a top officer, ended up pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy last year. Curtis Martinson, another top officer, also pleaded guilty in the case.

Community National, long based in North Branch, had been operating under new management and moved its headquarters to Lino Lakes. Although the bank had been shrinking its loan portfolio in the last couple of years and was losing money—it lost $1.9 million so far this year—it was well capitalized, unlike most banks closed by regulators.

Strib wrote its own story; the other two supplemental items carried PiPress reporting. Biz Journal, the original link above, originated its own reporting.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A modest proposal. "Rebranding" the Ramsey Star Express.

Ramsey Star Express ridership started and has remained in the doldrums, and to anticipate a positive change arising from rebranding, (such imagining being a vogue in place these days), the following suggestion is offered, modestly, in the mood of offering a helping hand to a deeply subsidized venture to stand on its own.

The Old

Coach design. As is.

The old brand. Having a mood of failed expectation.

The New

Coach - rebranding.

Further Rebranding Suggestions.

For the side - what else but this?

For each leg, near the bottom - again, what else?
Is there really any other honest message?

For the back, this, centered:

Is there any better way? The mood in Ramsey seems to be to expect without question that rebranding and lipstick-on-a-pig cosmetics will hold sway and turn disaster to victory - so, town fathers - go for it, again, this is not the first time you've bought into rebranding as a fiscal win, whatever the costs. Finally, think of the differing stronger impression the entirely redesigned and rebranded version can have, merging into traffic, especially when viewed from trailing traffic where drivers will understand and remember The COR for what it is.

ABC News - highlight items, for as long as they stay online - guess at that, I don't know ABC's changing policies and practices.

My HRA is bigger than your HRA; this link.

And do you suppose that if Blaine had that mayor back whose favorite word might still be, "Oberstar," that this reported situation (this link) would be any different:

Public hearing comment

During the truth in taxation public hearing, John Erar, 2543 Tournament Players Court, addressed a number of concerns about city salaries, the proposed 2011 tax rate and levy.

Erar said his property tax statement showed a $35,000 drop in valuation from 2010 to 2011 and he would pay $45 more in estimated city taxes next year.

“I object to the council approving $250,000 in employee salaries, steps and benefits,” Erar said. “I object to the council spending almost as much in 2011 as you did in 2010, while taxpayers see a significant decline in tax values.”

Erar told the council the city shouldn’t be exempt from tightening its budget belt in tough times.

“Citizens and taxpayers have lost their jobs and have had to make do on smaller salaries,” he said. “They don’t have the luxury of just raising the tax rate to make the same revenue they earned the year before.”

“The unfortunate truth in this taxation hearing is that hearing residents’ views is just a formality, a bureaucratic mechanism meant to satisfy requirements with the letter, not the spirit of the law being observed. Raising tax rates by almost 10 percent is an act that ignores the state of our economy and almost a 10 percent unemployment rate.”

Erar said many homeowners were barely holding onto their properties and city leaders needed to consider property tax relief.

“My message to this body is freeze employee salaries, steps and benefits, reduce the tax rate to 2010 levels, reduce spending to a corresponding level and appoint a citizens’ committee to review department expenditures and tax and spend decisions,” he said. “This isn’t just about raising the tax rate. It’s about raising the rate on people who are losing significant value in their homes.”

Commercial conundrum

James Selmer, who owns property at 11452 Central Ave. N.E., asked why his taxes had increased. His former residential property is now commercial.

“It’s 4.6 acres,” Selmer said. “It was residential non-homestead and this year it went to commercial-industrial, and that’s an increase of 174 percent.”

Selmer said this year, the property taxes were approximately $13,000, including road assessments; next year they will be $25,046.

He also had a question about the fiscal disparity portion of his property tax bill. “That’s $4,672,” he said. “It think it’s outrageous.”

City Manager Clark Arneson explained that part of Selmer’s tax.

Since 1971, the Twin Cities’ commercial and industrial tax base has been shared according a pooled arrangement that redistributes revenue according to communities’ needs, Arneson said.

In the past, Blaine has received money back from the pool. “This year, it looks like for the first time Blaine will be a net contributor to the pool,” Arneson said.

“Our commercial and industrial base is contributing more than we are getting back from the pool. On your statement, you are paying into this pool just like every other property. The rate is set by the legislative auditor.”

Selmer wasn’t pleased with that explanation.

“It sure doesn’t sound very fair,” he said. “This property is only 4.6 acres and it’s going to be a big jump from one year to the next. My valuation went down.”

Arneson asked Selmer to schedule a meeting with city staff to discuss his tax situation. After Selmer agreed, Mayor Tom Ryan closed the public hearing.

And only four folks in Blaine bothered to show up. Do you think the remainder of the population might have thought you can't fight city hall? It seems that feeling might be a county-wide norm. Press on, into the Big Muddy, and all.

Why is this man smiling?

To me, "blue collar" has always had a sounder and more substantial image. However, this dude looks to want to appear to be a doctor, given the brochures in the background on malignant melanoma - the signs and symptoms.

photo and story by Sakry, this link.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

It's the same as it ever was.

This link.

Getting fed up yet? The more handwaving you see by snake oil salesmen, the more cause to distrust.

Photos from Christian Science Monitor, here and here. See this link, and this. Citizens are being sold out by smiling front men.



-click the image to enlarge and read - Tea Party idiots-

____________FURTHER UPDATE______________
Robert Reich calls it like it is. This link. His ending bottom line,

It makes him look weak — Republicans got everything they wanted. And when a President looks weak, he is weak.

House and Senate Democrats should reject this abomination.

The President should get himself new advisors.

CHANGE? Obama is not even small change. Obama is Bush; Obama is Clinton; only with a different entourage. Different Ivy League roots. Same damned wars and same financing of them on credit.

Same hard times for workers. Same inspiration for alienation and distrust.

A clone.

Put that in your tea pot and drink it.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Just because the rhetoric will be flying, thick and fast, let's set out actualities.

The picture is of a "want" and not a "need." It is the proposed Ramsey Northstar station-stop.

Dan Erhart wanted Northstar rail. He did not need it. It always was unneeded. Not needed by anyone.

The Crabgrass minions, wanting to cash out land holdings, wanted it, and collaborated with Erhart.

Matt Look wanted Ramsey to buy the failed Ramsey Town Center.

Ramsey did not need to do that.

Paying money to Landform is something Darren Lazan and Michael Jungbauer want.

Ramsey had no need to do that.


So far, we have Mr. Look going to the county board - talking the wants-vs-needs talk.

Has anyone seen him walk the walk? I voted Steffen, not expecting it really. Not expecting it based on track record. Track record while on the Ramsey city council.

Dumping on the Duluth rail proposal will be easy. Matt's already started that.

It, however, is not entirely walking the walk.

Denying Ramsey its wanting an unneeded rail proposal is where he walks the walk, or not.

Keep that truth in mind, as he moves to County Board.

My bet, Matt Look continues to talk the talk. Only, or largely, but certainly not consistently choo-choo-wise.

THIS reporting out of Duluth is walking the talk, but IF AND ONLY IF Cravaack, despite community displeasure, stays the course as he has set it so far. Without revisionism. Honestly instead, i.e., without redefinitions and qualified explanations (aka, lies and excuses for the newer ones):

Just hours after his stunning victory over an 18-term incumbent, U.S. Rep.-elect Chip Cravaack stunned the Duluth area, commenting about “pet” projects here and the need to separate “wants” from “needs.”

He mentioned specifically the $64.9 million of construction under way at Duluth International Airport, including $42.3 million for a new terminal building. Cravaack said he wasn’t sure it was needed. “Even the people that work at the airport are kind of questioning it,” he told the News Tribune. “Again, is it a need or a want?”

Few would argue in support of wasteful spending, and the red flags being waved about mounting federal debt are well worth heeding. But to lump Duluth’s airport-terminal project into any outcry over “pork” or “big government” or “out-of-control Washington” has to be seen as uninformed at best and wrongheaded at worst.

“I don’t think he understands the project,” Duluth International Airport Executive Director Brian Ryks said in an interview last week with the News Tribune editorial board, referring to Cravaack and his comments.

I expect Cravaack might turn out to be a true conservative and not a spineless and decieving lip-service imitator. Like it or hate it, but it IS the real thing and not a Spieler - if he stays the course.

If Cravaack expects to maintain credibility as the conservative he paints himself to be, he will understand turning Quisling on his promises will be observed, pointed out, and empahsized.

Quite simply put, facing the same situation of professed vs actual intent as Cravaack, if Look expects a future career advance among the hard-liner Tea Partiers, the Palins and the Bachmanns, he'd best pay attention to his stance on unneeded Ramsey Northstar (and Water World) proposals. Or will he play footsie with the Landform planned pork procurment effort shown via the failed SF 2500 item, last session.

A new session will start with the new year, and it would be no surprise to see the same game, with a greater likelihood of success given that there's a GOP pork forking leadership that just got elected and can't help themselves --- rhetoric and promises be damned, it's free money on the table.


We wait. We see.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

"This is how commuter rail across the country starts," said Tim Yantos, executive director of the Northstar Corridor Development Authority. "Two thousand riders a day means 2,000 cars taken off the road system every day. That's encouraging."

Commuter rail, across the country starts by lying about reasonable expectations of use in order to institute a financially shaky cram-down? Come on, Tim, can't you say Met Council is nationally unique in some ways?

The "everyone lies" thing, means you too Tim, i.e., you're within the the classic lines of the logicians' liar paradox.

This Nov. 8 online item continues from the screenshot text. Read it all.

Yantos is no turnip and has to know the Met Council is famous for lying on the high side in imposing growth quotas for towns under its thumb. Now - big news - it lied in getting Northstar done ahead of more sensible things to add earlier in building a grid, such as the central corridor which now has an uphill push because the agency cannot be fully trusted.

Sure, nobody has a reliable crystal ball, but using bogus ridership "projections" likely involves their voodoo planners simply always read the chicken entrails on the high side; science and good statistical practices be damned in the exercise.

About a month after the publishing of the Finance and Commerce lead item, STRIB also covers the "Oh my, the ridership is not there" brand of communication emanating now from the transit pundits who put Northstar second in line after Hiawatha, instead of building the Central Corridor earlier, with always scarce dollars.

STRIB coverage is significant because of the wider readership base it has, over Finance and Commerce.

Coincidently, you do not see STRIB asking Met Council voodoo merchants to do their readership forecasting and then basing payroll on such numbers. They'd have gone fully broke years ago, had they been that foolish.

In opening, Paul Levy of STRIB says:

Barely a year old, the $317 million Northstar commuter rail line will fall 20 percent short of ridership projections for 2010, according to a Metro Transit official who said "we're very concerned."

Expectations for the 41-mile line from Big Lake to Minneapolis have been set back by the 7 percent unemployment rate, reduced downtown parking fees, moderate (until recently) gas prices and improvements to Hwy. 10, said Metro Transit spokesman Bob Gibbons.

"That's not how we built our expectations," Gibbons said.

While cost-conscious officials have managed to keep Northstar within its $16.8 million annual budget, they now face a winter without baseball and the boost the line got from Twins home games. Special-events trains to and from the Target Field station were packed during the season.

Northstar's ridership was still 5 percent below expectations through August. By October, when the Twins' season ended, ridership was nearly 11 percent shy of 2010 projections. The numbers for November and early December, not yet calculated, are expected to plummet, Gibbons said.

Proponents of the line remain undeterred.

"This is how commuter rail across the country starts," said Tim Yantos, executive director of the Northstar Corridor Development Authority.

Lies, prevarications, and mendacious obfuscation are prevalent "across the country?". Excuses, excuses, excuses? Yada, yada, yada, more yada? Same old, same old? If as Yantos says, it always starts that way, when does it end?

Tell that entire story elsewhere, and let us believe that the truth instead is that the numbers were fudged up from the get-go, intentionally and not in error by overlooking foreseeable downside factors so clear ahead of actual numbers that a child could anticipate things.

So, bottom line: STRIB, online Dec. reports talking front men for the operation fronting a host of excuses, as if downside ridership numbers was not foreseen as at all a possibility when the tub-thumpers were out and about and when BNSF was consistently robbing the citizenry of millions in negotiations with Clifford Greene.

What a surprise.

Read both articles front-to-end. Ramsey readers, do so from the perspective of town fathers wanting to install a fourteen million rail stop structure, based on insufficient ridership and a Field of Dreams mentality going with the use of public money. So is it how they'd spend their own resources, in business. Go figure that one out.

Not only do they want it, but the entire joke of The RESIDENCE at The COR, contracting gives the promoters a walk-away power if the CITY DOES NOT BUILD IT by a cutoff date. Again, go figure.

Rental housing, calling all the shots.

As Northstar in its entirety was a cramdown, the toot-toot Ramsey Crystal Palace across "Civic Center Drive" from the Norman Castle will be nothing else. How the money flow is jiggered between local tax money, state tax money, Met Council tax money, and federal tax money, the common theme in that is "tax money." Call it fees, call it assessments, call it grants, but view it for what it is - spending ever-scarcer tax dollars one way instead of in some alternative manner, for other goals. AND - treating city reserves as risk capital is not a fiscally conservative thing, know that, believe it, it is the truth.

Ben Dover whispered to me once, "Referendum," as I walked past his pedestal across Sunwood from the Norman Castle. That's a most interesting word with regard to Crystal Palace intentions.

Referendum is a nice word.

They had one recently on technicalities of administrative organization, but never one on profligate spending. Go figure. Opinion of Ben and the rest of the citizenry is chopped liver.

I would be satisfied with any outcome of a referendum. 

Wouldn't you? 

Who wouldn't? 

Why not?

photos: Crystal Palace from city public data; The RESIDENCE from ABC Newspapers, this link; Ben Dover the Ramsey Tax Payer across Sunwood from the Norman Castle, a Crabgrass original.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Emmer forces doing their best to make Minnesota a national laughingstock.

Seattle Times carries the AP feed concerning Emmer-Sutton-Brodkorb-whoever disingenuousness, this excerpt:

Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. — In a tiny county far from the expected hotspots in the Minnesota governor's race recount, election officials found themselves dealing with campaign representatives determined to challenge votes.

More precisely, volunteers for Republican Tom Emmer moved Monday to put the brakes on votes headed for Democrat Mark Dayton's column. In all, Emmer's team tried to send 423 of the roughly 6,300 ballots cast in Renville County to a challenge pile, baffling Dayton's campaign and the local officials.

"We had one bona fide challenge," said county auditor/treasurer Larry Jacobs, who described how an Emmer representative apologized for "what I'm instructed to do." The 422 others were classified as "frivolous."

Dayton led by about 8,800 votes coming into the recount, meaning Emmer has more incentive to shake up the count.

According to Minnesota Secretary of State figures, recount work has concluded for about 62 percent of precincts, encompassing more than 947,000 votes. Dayton picked up 20 votes compared with his Nov. 2 tallies for those precincts and Emmer lost four. Some counties didn't report any first-day data, though.

As the recount headed for a second day Tuesday, Emmer was outpacing Dayton by more than 3-to-1 in ballot challenges, which can temporarily alter the vote count.

Unless the challenges are withdrawn later, the disputed ballots will go before the five-member state canvassing board. Two years ago in Minnesota's U.S. Senate recount, the board overruled most challenges.

The stir in Renville County, a couple of hours west of the Twin Cities, caught many by surprise. Dayton's team puzzled over the onslaught, but the Emmer campaign defended its strategy.

"Emmer challengers take their roles very seriously and are working hard to ensure that every legally cast vote is counted accurately," Emmer spokesman Carl Kuhl said late Monday.

[...] The goal is to wrap up the taxpayer-funded recount by mid-December. The loser has an option to sue in court, which could delay a resolution for weeks and months. If Jan. 3 arrives without a conclusion, there's a strong possibility GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty would stay on - although Dayton has made rumblings about fighting that outcome.

More than two dozen counties finished on the first day. The others must be done by early next week, giving the canvassing board time to rule on the challenges.

In Hennepin County, home to one-fifth of Minnesota's voters, attorneys clashed over how challenged ballots should be handled, particularly those that officials had the power to deem "frivolous."

County elections manager Rachel Smith convened a closed-door meeting to get them on the same page.

Emphasis added. Subpoena a statement, who exactly instructed the shamed Renville County GOP miscreant to be an a******? Then work upward with sworn statements along the GOP food-chain, to the top a****** forming challenge policy. Bringing shame upon themselves and the State is not good for them, or the State.

It would not surprise me if papers such as the one in Seattle are mirrored in other states, possibly having a motive to show businesses why they should stay where they are or least why they should think twice about relocating to an unstable floozy-headed locale, such as Minnesota with groundless political denial abounding about the clear Dayton election win.

And the GOP's been giving such lip service to wanting to attract business and make us all more prosperous. How should we square actions with words?

_________FURTHER UPDATE________
MinnPost names names of high level obstructionist GOP a*******, giving evidence; this link.

Can you say, Trimble? Can you say "the usual suspect?"

Does the buck stop there, or is this a cutout, paid to be so to keep the buck from passing higher? Go figure.

Read the colloquy with reporters; judge the man - he did take an oath to be allowed to practice law.

___________FURTHER UPDATE___________
This one is under the "You've got to be kidding," category, Talking Points Memo quoting Strib reporting:

To speed things up on Wednesday, [Hennepin County election manager Rachel] Smith asked to add three or four counting tables to the 25 already set up.

Trimble objected, saying if she did so, the campaign would take the county to court. "They can't change the rules," he said.

The state Republican Party also blasted Smith. In a statement, the party said Smith "tried to change the rules in the middle of game to advance the interests of Mark Dayton."

If adding counting tables to expedite a recount and reach a reliable result more quickly is "to advance the interests of Mark Dayton," what are this clown pack saying about what they are up to in order to impede the interests of Mark Dayton?

You think and expect them to think before speaking, and expecting that, thinking that, you get surprised. We will sue to delay your expediting things because we know we've not a prayer of prevailing so that expediting things in an orderly way is "advancing the interests of Mark Dayton," is an admission of a bogus intent. Lawyers in civil litigation at the District Court level have Rule 11 to face:

By presenting to the court (whether by signing, filing, submitting, or later advocating) a pleading, written motion, or other paper, an attorney or unrepresented party is certifying that to the best of the person’s knowledge, information, and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances,

(a) it is not being presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation;

(b) the claims, defenses, and other legal contentions therein are warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law or the establishment of new law; [...]

I am certain that there are comparable rules at the appellate level, probably more stringently enforced because the higher up that pecking order you go the more the individuals think, in general, of their own importance in the scheme of things and hence about those who are disrespectful to their rank. As in, "Don't waste my time," Tony. Smith abandoned the move to move more quickly, as not worth the challenge, so the test of Tony before appellate judges with that brand of nonsense unfortunately never materialized. Can you envision it?

_______________FURTHER UPDATE___________
Are we being subjected to bozo ballot beligerance?

Look at representative online evidence. The proof is in the pudding so have a taste.

Would you take this kind of thing to a judge, where the standard is uncertainty of voter intent?

How low of an opinion of judges do you hold? What about Tony Trimble? What's your guess of his respect for the bench if he'd show up and argue these cases?

Latest news on Tom Hackbarth.

Google news has several helpful current links, here. Taking GOP leadership off the hook, Hackbarth has withdrawn his name from any committee leadership positions in the next legislature; and the St. Paul City Attorney is regarding the case as active in light of a female acquaintance of Hackbarth working in the Minnesotsa Agriculture Department residing in the neighborhood of the Planned Parenthood clinic where Hackbarth parked before heading down an adjacent alley on foot, armed. Questions of whether there might be a legislative inquiry into fitness and ethics remain possible pending further developments. Questions of whether Hackbarth might be charged with any criminal law violation, and if so under what statute or city ordinance also remain unsettled. Stalking law at the state and local level is something I know little about except that spurious and wholly groundless charges can be filed by any complainant intending to instigate inquiry without any real penalty for false swearing. However, the Ag. Dept. employee has in this instance indicated to the media a lack of intention to press issues.

Criminal law presuming Hackbarth innocent until proven guilty should be distinguished from public opinion based on reporting to date presuming Hackbarth an unstable, probably dangerous knuckle-dragging caveman lacking in sound personal judgment, unless proven otherwise.

Mark Olson was not reported as seeking any treatment at the Bachmann clinic, but it might be helpful if Marcus Bachmann, subject of course to therapist-client confidentiality, were to consider Hackbarth as a suitable client for some form of reprogramming.

There are numerous counselors at the clinic with skill sets and orientation to assist Hackbarth, but possibly Marcus Bachmann, as clinc head, might take on the challenge directly. He seems well suited to understanding how the pressures on one in politics may lead to instabilities and absurd or abnormal behavior.

The clinic advertises on its online homepage having specialty counseling expertise in such areas as "Abuse Issues," "Men's & Women's Issues," "Shame," and "Spiritual Issues." Some close to the clinic business doubtlessly have experience with conceal/carry dimensions of conduct, as permit holders past or present, or otherwise.

Within the range of most recent coverage, Budig of ECM Publishing reports on Dec. 2, 2010, quoting text within a Hackbarth issued statement/release:

“I’m going through a very difficult time in my life right now, and the toughest part is admitting my problems and committing to get the help that I need. I have done that, and I’m going to get help so that I can get things back in order,” said Hackbarth.

“With my priorities elsewhere, I know that I cannot hold a gavel, and so tonight I voluntarily gave up my committee chairmanship. I apologize to my family, the new speaker, to my colleagues and most of all my constituents who I’ve let down with my actions,” he said.

If Hackbarth has retained legal counsel, and who that might be, has not been reported anywhere I have seen in media coverage. Strib has reported online here, that retaining counsel may be advisible:

Wednesday morning, however, police were contacted by an anonymous tipster who said Hackbarth, a 16-year House veteran, was being untruthful when he provided the name of the woman, police spokesman Andy Skoogman said. The tipster provided a different woman's name.

Police contacted that woman, who acknowledged she knew Hackbarth but did not know why he was in the area that evening, Skoogman said. She also said she didn't want to pursue a case against Hackbarth, Skoogman said.

After speaking with the woman, police conducted a follow-up interview with Hackbarth. He told police he knew the woman but denied he was looking for her the night he was stopped.

Skoogman said police have still been unable to find a woman with the name Hackbarth initially provided.

"He tells us one thing, the caller tells us something else," Skoogman said. "We have no evidence to suggest one way or another. We feel we have the responsibility to do our due diligence and turn the case over to the city attorney's office."

St. Paul City Attorney Sara Grewing said Thursday afternoon that her office will "review it just like any other case from the police department."

Grewing would not comment on possible charges but said the case could take a week or two to review.

Willful lying to FBI agents has been made a federal crime, of and by itself, but I am unaware of whether State statutes or local ordinances have parallel provisions.

Thinking outside the box. Or how I would rescue the Ramsey Town Center.

As an introduction, think of a souffle, started from an unworkable recipe, that has fallen with the town fathers in a dilemma on how to reinflate it to ultimately say, "My it tastes good." My understanding is that inserting many dollar bills into it, cramming it full of Abes and Jacksons, might elevate the top superficially when looking at it from the outside, but it's cheating and you'd choke on tasting it while perhaps wanting to nonetheless say, "Tastes fine." Cramming it full of paper money is of course an "inside the box" solution and we must transcend such thought.

First, dump as absurd "the COR" and dump Darren with it. That reinflates nothing, but it would make you feel good.

Beyond that obvious step, think historically. Think rail stop.

Return to the subsidies of business a few centuries back, the railroad land grant expansion into the frontier.

In short, here's the deal. If BNSF will stop the Northstar at Ramsey and build from its cash the rail stop that Ramsey's finest desire, then give them clear title to the thing. The entire thing. All that was purchased out of foreclosure litigation limbo. Make it trainster property. Private property with private property rights, as town fathers profess best independent of how they actually act.

Land for rail development. It's worked before.

Think of the positives. Staunch the exhausting of city reserves, per the adage, "A foolish town and its money are soon parted." That first, but what else?

Well, the philosophy of the property rights bloc now in town along with the "shrink government" mentality and the elevation to a near religion the belief in the capacity of private enterprise and free market decision making - all that would be met and satisfied in a real "feel good" way and should be incentive enough for the dabblers now in things to hand over the play toy to a business of large size with a history of duration; thus transiitoning the play from putzing amateurs to folks who know how to run a railroad. It's sensible. It is immune to ideological attack from Republicans, in this instance a virtue.

Government socialism will cease competition with the private sector. BNSF is private sector. City of Ramsey is not.

Now what would BNSF do with the land? Who cares? As private sector we can trust the highest and best use to percolate through events like magic, and whatever happens is for the best. Mom used to say that, whatever happens is for the best, and independent of that the thought deserves some respect as a way to rationalizing acceptance of windmills instead of attacking them in a noble warlike way, "tilting against windmills" being by now a phrase fully within folk wisdom, for folly. So if the land sits fallow and jackrabbits and sandburs prosper under BNSF holding title, that proves itself to be the highest and best possibility. Four centuries from now we presume that something different will be there, and that seems to be a fit time scale to believe that BNSF or its successors in title will survive to institute something beyond fallow. If it takes that long, so what? It would not be more pushing on a rope. If finding another thinly capatilized chump to put propped up into the drivers seat for a while is the highest and best thing to do, i.e., repeating history, then BNSF will do so, and it will be for the best since it's private sector dealings entirely and we know that is the paradigm to reach highest and best. Tim Pawlenty's told us so.

In any event there would be the rail stop, privately owned - part of the deal being that BNSF builds it for itself and not for socialistic aims -- again something I believe Tim Pawlenty has said is best. BNSF, unlike Ramsey, is bigger than Met Council and probably owns more of Washington DC, as needed to assure grant money from federal taxpayers is properly put into the ground in Ramsey. More clout with the louts, you might say. At least in considering louts outside of Anoka County, in federal decision making positions awaiting transitioning to K Street. Louts on K Street too, for that matter. Do you question BNSF's private sector ownership of ways and means of influencing federal money allocations? Why? Isn't private sector exercise of property rights best? Didn't Tim Pawlenty say that too?

So there you have it. Outside of the box. It fixes everything. Returning a moment into the box, what would it take beyond the swap itself to make BNSF take the deal? Well, outside of the box, (the box that says stuff the fallen souffle with dollar bills to prop up the top and make it look correct), if BNSF will not take the deal that's private sector decision making at play, and hence the best outcome possible. If it's not worth the effort of BNSF, doesn't that mean that it's not worth Ben Dover's participation? That seems rational, inside or outside the box. If private capital will not touch the risk why in the world should Ben Dover want it touched? All the good sense of the world is behind that thought. Not that good sense is in control everywhere, we cannot assume that from recent history, but if there's a flaw in that logic no one has demonstrated where and City of Ramsey buying the thing out of foreclosure limbo while the market remained tanked does not refute the notion that if private capital sees it as a senseless risk then Ben Dover should think it that also.

As a final side thing, everyone should consider renaming the Northstar Rail the "Folly Trolly," as a more fitting name and as a way to lessen the abusive tendency among Minnesotans to assault the North Star with absurd naming.

The star aligned with the axis the earth turns upon, more or less so, has been a fortuitous thing for navigators, and as such deserves respect so that there should be no North Star Laundry, or North Star Pet Grooming, or Northstar Rail. The naming of the talent-starved hockey team that left town is but one more example that disrespect of the North Star has consequences.

It would show more respect to nature to do the renaming - we could call it "rebranding" - and the term "Folly Trolly" is more fitting to what the thing at least in the near future really is and will be. In the long term we're all dead, Keynes was right on that, and again the railroad is expected to be a survivor, and a decision maker long term, something the town fathers cannot claim because unlike private sector corporations they cannot even theoretically exist in perpetuity.

So Ramsey leadership, what are we waiting on? Get it done.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

They got theirs. Did you get yours?

I bet you got jack out of it. Because you got no pull with big Ben.

This link, Fed names names, this excerpt:

At Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Wall Street’s most profitable securities firm, borrowing from the Primary Dealer Credit Facility peaked at $24 billion in October 2008. “Without question, direct government support was critical in stabilizing the financial system, and we benefitted from it,” Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein said in January 2010.

Michael DuVally, a Goldman Sachs spokesman in New York, said today that the Fed’s actions “were very successful.”

Dollar Squeeze

The presence of foreign banks in the program underscores the squeeze in dollar liquidity after the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. on Sept. 15, 2008. UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank, was the biggest borrower from the Commercial Paper Funding Facility, tapping the program 11 times for $74.5 billion.

The emergency programs included the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, which has supported billions of dollars in credit to small businesses, credit card borrowers, and students, and the Term Auction Facility, which helped banks get cheaper funding.

Bernanke pushed the boundaries of the Fed’s powers, using section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act, which allowed the central bank to aid non-banks under “unusual and exigent circumstances.” In some facilities, the Fed engaged in non- recourse lending, meaning it loaned against collateral alone and took a greater risk of loss.

‘Risk Exposures’

“By moving into the world of non-recourse loans, they started to accept risk exposures that the private sector was no longer capable of maintaining,” said Lou Crandall, chief economist at Wrightson ICAP LLC in Jersey City, New Jersey. “That effectively turned the Fed into an asset warehouse.”

Congress excluded one Fed lending program from disclosure, the discount window, which is the subject of a 2008 lawsuit filed by Bloomberg LP, parent of Bloomberg News, against the central bank. A group of banks is appealing to the Supreme Court over lower-court decisions ordering the Fed to identify loan recipients. The program peaked at $110.7 billion in October 2008.

“We see this not as the end of a process but really a significant step forward in opening the veil of secrecy that exists in one of the most powerful agencies in government,” Senator Bernard Sanders, the Vermont Independent who wrote the provision on Fed disclosure, said to reporters Nov. 17.

No, you did not get a share, because you were busy being distracted at Tea Party rallies. I feel for you. I bleed with you.

But Sanders, saying "one of the most powerful agencies in government," if so, why is it run exclusively by bankers, for the benefit of banks, with the government only looking over shoulders, sometimes?

Don't expect me to answer that. Ask Ron Paul. Or ask Michele Bachmann if you want the horsed up misunderstood version of what Ron Paul might say.

Or ask Mary Kiffmeyer. She at one time briefly headed that experimental banking thing in Otsego, on its way into a takeover by a sounder, secular, banking business.

An interesting footnote to things, Reuters Dec. 1 headline, "Citi tapped Fed window 278 times during crisis," this link.

Neighbors to the north got theirs; according to the Globe and Mail, this link. So why didn't you and I get ours?

Although getting rare - City of Ramsey still has a few 5 to 5+ acre horse properties left.

A friend sent this photo. I suppose it was an overcast enough day that the camera flash went off, hence the deer have "Orphan Annie" eyes. But it's one of the remaining horse properties, within three miles or less of Ramsey Town Center, and noteworthy for that. As always, click to enlarge and view the image.

Another possible headline would be, "Despite the foolishness there still are reasons to stay in Ramsey." I say, "a friend" rather than naming names because who knows what new regulation may roll off the assembly line, about keeping horses or feeding suburban deer. Better not naming names with such uncertainty. My God, I'd best be careful, I sometimes catch myself thinking like a Republican.

"Overzealous" seems a very indirect way of saying we were lied to big time. Beyond that, the word "catalyst" can be used overzealously.

This is the Google Alert email that got me to read Tammy Sakry's detailed online ABC Newspapers reporting of current Ramsey decisions, this link.

Jumping mid-stream into Sakry's thorough reporting of this "Flaherty & Collins" special deal, there is this excerpt (but, again, for the entire picture, read the original ABC item; which, again, is at this link.

A development agreement also was approved on a 5-1 vote with Councilmember John Dehen voting no.

City assistance

Under the development agreement, The Residence project will receive more than $150,000 in business subsidies.

According to city’s financial consultant Stacie Kvilvang of Ehlers and Associates, the subsidy can be used for anything related to the project, including construction costs.

The HRA will hold a public hearing on the subsidy on Dec. 14.

The city will also be providing the developer with a $1.3 million loan for the project, which will come from the city’s tax increment financing (TIF) District 1.

Although the developer will not be paying interest on the loan, it will have to pay the city a fee of $120,000.

With the fee, the city will receive $1,420,000 back on its 10-year loan.

The loan will be repaid from 20 percent of the annual cash flow generated from the project and/or 20 percent of the proceeds received from a sale or refinancing of the development.

If it is not paid by 2024 (the 10-year mark), simple interest rate of 6.25 percent will accrue on the unpaid balance from April 1, 2024, until the loan is paid in full. If the developer does not commence the construction by June 30, 2011, the loan agreement terminates.

If the City is not guaranteed a first position security interest for all it is at risk on, ahead of any bank lending, that alone should be a deal killer. Security positioning was not discussed in the city council's voting session, nor did the council weigh the question if Flaherty & Collins goes bankrupt in future years with things pending, or interposes some thinly capitalized intermediary LLC as is often done, and it goes bankrupt, is the city left holding an empty or a full bag. Downside risk and security positioning is not a coincidental part of any long-term deal, and to brush it under the rug in public discussion indicates either mendacity or inexperience on the part of decision makers. Bray, the lawyer James Norman had advising on the Feges-Nedegaard contract, is doing the same here. A ton of trust is placed there, without public discussion of downside risk planning and such.

Strangely, All Fool's Day, 2024 was chosen as either a day of reckoning or a non-event, since the future is always uncertain even while some pretend to foresee catalytic circumstances. My years of schooling may have inadequately prepared me to understand linguistic nuance, but I admit I cannot fully make sense out of this reporting, discussing money:

According to the agreement, the city will only pay out proceeds of the loan to the developer after it has actually incurred the costs and submitted proof of payment.

Because the city owns the land, it will be required to pay nearly $2,443,200 in various fees associated with platting the property. The city plans to use funds from its TIF District 2.

When the council questioned the funding, Lazan said the city will only be out-of-pocket for the sewer connection fee to the Metropolitan Council.

The devil must be in the details. Darren-speak appears to have replaced Feges-speak as time passed, but the flavor seems unchanged, the glasses as rose-colored, and overuse of the word "catalyst" could have rolled off John Feges' tongue with equal ease.

Getting to the nub of things, promises of nice shoppes and restaurants and visions of sugar plums dancing in heads, all that good stuff repeated often, we have reporting of catalysis and spurring activity (which are not the same thing). Sakry continues:

Retail space

The city has addressed the life cycle housing and this project addresses the life style issue. He is excited about the project, said Councilmember David Elvig.

But he wishes there was more retail space included, he said.

With the amount of traffic they are expecting with the rail stop, he would have like to see more mixed use, Elvig said.

This is a catalyst project to get more opportunities going in and get people into The COR, said Councilmember Jeff Wise.

“It’s all about spurring activity,” he said.

Mayor Bob Ramsey agreed that the retail space was not as large as he would like to see, but the previous plan for Ramsey Town Center was over zealous for the market, he said.

A lot of residents say it will be nice to have more restaurants in The COR and this project will be the catalyst to bring some of that, Ramsey said.

The city had to work to get Flaherty & Collins to include the retail component, said Councilmember Matt Look.

They are in the business of residential units, not retail, he said.

This will get the boots on the ground and bring more riders for a rail station, Look said.

To boost the retail, the city agreed in the development agreement to rent the retail space that Flaherty & Collins has not rented out after a year.

It agreed to rent the space for $16 square feet annually for up to three years, up to $144,000 maximum.

Get "boots on the ground"? Is this a military analogue, or what? It seems like a city promoted bad market overly subsidized development project to me, not chauvinistic war.

Sakry's reporting as excerpted above has highlighting of the word catalyst added, it appearing to be the word du jour. Anyone viewing the broadcast of the council meeting will recognize that "catalyst" is one of the most favored words of Darren-speak, so it inspired the obvious Google, with this result:

Well, there you have it. I am unfamiliar with the music, but the title stands, Talentless Tragic Kid's Cattle List - From the album Brought to You by Nebraska Fish. Draw whatever parallels you choose. Sakry further reports about this city promoted bad market overly subsidized development project:

To ensure the proposed complex has enough parking, the city has also agreed to fund a 200-stall parking ramp expansion.

The parking ramp expansion project, which will cost around $4.3 million, would be funded with a $3.5 million federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement grant has already received as well as funds from its TIF districts, possible land sales, the landfill trust and a public improvement revolving fund.

Two hundred of the 800 parking spaces would be dedicated to the Flaherty & Collins project as well as the use of 75 additional spaces..

The expansion would need to be completed on or before June 30, 2012.


Although the 230-unit complex has the support of the majority of the council, Dehen was the lone dissenter.

If the development could float on its own, he would embrace it but he does not want to subsidize the developer, Dehen said.

This is an expensive apartment complex next to a rail line and Highway 10. The people the developers rent to may not understand they can’t just jump the rail and go downtown for a dinner and play because it’s a commuter train that only makes five round trips a day, he said.

The city already has townhomes that are vacant and Elk River has a large vacancy rate in the housing by its rail station, Dehen said.

Dehen said he is also concerned that the city is subsidizing a complex to compete with existing housing market.

“People are being forced to rent their townhomes because of the economy. It’s not right the city would be in competition,” he said.

While he is supportive of the project in many ways, the city is putting a lot of funding into this project and he wants to see how much Flaherty & Collins is putting into this, Elvig said.

If it can’t hit the margin and get the rentals and Flaherty & Collins say it can’t make ends meet, “how far are we hanging down the cliff,” Elvig said.

The city’s contributions are fairly limited and the Flaherty & Collins financing will have to be in place before the project starts, Lazan said.
Eariler in the report, Sakry mentioned:

The proposal includes a four-story building that will wrap around the west side of an expanded municipal center parking lot, said Darren Lazan of Landform, the city’s consultant, who helped broker the deal and will receive a commission on the project.

Bottom line, as I see it. Whatever Landform efforts catalyze, at least this rental part of its effort is close to Ramsey's police station. Putting the police station down in that development may perhaps prove to be one of the better decisions town officials made.

Hoping for an upward sloping learning curve, this time I would hope that contract papers not only promise the city a first position security interest, but that recording is policed so that the city's document is recorded first in security-position sequence among the deed and other papers that are recorded per whatever contract is finalized. My recollection is that the Feges-Nedegaard-Community National Bank contract papers said the city had the priority position, but the munchkin tasked with walking things out of escrow to the recording desk at County Hall did not record things in such a sequence, creating an ambiguity because the city's position was not first in record sequence (I believe the city's position was recorded third, with the bank mortgage and the financing agreement the bank held recorded first and second, as well as the financing agreement being entered in Secretary of State records to cover notice as to real and personal property security positions of the bank). Not only the city's security position on real property should have a priority, there should be the same for removable personal property vs. fixtures (Secretary of State filing priority too). And this time police the actual handing over of papers in proper sequence at the respective desks.

We all should have upward sloping learning curves. Unfortunately we all do not.

____________FURTHER UPDATE____________
In correcting a link error to the Sakry story, and checking the correction, it was clear the item had been updated [e.g., an image of a building rendering, with captioning, was added]. If any current ABC Newspaper online text differs from what was quoted, that would be from the ABC Newspaper updating of the story, since I quoted from what I'd opened in the browser this morning, before writing.

_____________FURTHER UPDATE____________
Sakry also wrote, "To move the project forward, the council approved a purchase agreement for Flaherty & Collins to purchase 3.03 acres of land in The COR for $250,000, approximately $2 a square foot, on a 6-0 vote." That drawing the ABC online item features, does not look to be something covering 3.3 acres.

What are these people getting, if anything, beyond the building footprint and say a fifteen foot setback all around? Are they getting land on the rail side of City Center Drive, for example?

Any reader with any info can post a comment, send an email, or if you already have the phone number, call. I am curious and if there's a sketch even in the full agenda in the hundreds of pages, showing the land and the footprint of the building upon it, please send me a page number, screenshot, etc.

It looks like a land grab, otherwise.

I could be wrong, so help me out.


I did check the numbers, and 3.03 acres is $1.89/sq.ft. Thus, the $2 per sq.ft. is largely correct.

My understanding from the council meeting as broadcast is the claim is that the developer is paying per sq.ft. what the city paid in buying the distressed property out of foreclosure.

I did not check numbers precisely, yet including the eight million of compromised taxes and assessments put into the price along with seven million out of pocket as the hit to city reserve funds, yields, roughly:

$15 million / 175 acre = $85,714/acre x 3.03 acres = $252,000 more or less, so the price honestly fits using the fifteen million figure, and not merely the out of pocket reserves decrement.

Remember that roughly $7 million cash plus $8 million tax "abatement" gives the $15 million figure. The claim that the land is being sold at cost is thus legit.

One can argue it's a "prime site" and the county paid $500,000 per acre for its 1.2 acre of land for the morgue, under about the same distressed current market conditions.

The disparity indicates Jim Deal and county officials price things differently than this Crabgrass developer and the city, so it must be that the morgue site, right on the rails, is existentially worth substantially more per acre than city land dead adjacent to the parking ramp, equally on the rails.

Go figure.

My belief still is Jim Deal got a sweetheart deal on the county's willingness to pay as it did for something that could have been sited anywhere whatsoever in county; and that no other land there at Ramsey Town Center will be going for that kind of per acre price, ever.

Again, go figure. I think Rhonda Sivarajah was the only dissenting vote on the morgue deal, but I could be wrong and it might have been unanimous. And Jim Deal did was not asked to and did not have to profligately give away ramp parking to move land out of his inventory.

Life goes on. With interesting blips, here and there, yes.

___________FURTHER UPDATE___________
As to that pet word of Darren-speak, in a be-careful-what-you-wish-for sense, Hitler's election plurality victory in 1933 was "catalytic." Googling, two interesting threads, "catalyst for disaster" returns hits, as does "catalyst of terror." As noted, it might be fortuitous that the main cop shop got put down in Ramsey Town Center.

History will judge. But folks at the front and side tables, drop that word, please.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Proving the Republicans do not have the only freak show in town.

It says, "16 new from $0.21 37 used from $0.01"

Valued about right.

Spin, can you say spin? Democracy Now can, calling out lame spin-meistering by the State Department.

Computerworld. Amazon discussion forum threads, here and here. Rely on the cloud? Only if you've your data valuables also mirrored and backed up, on local storage.

Wikileaks is getting clouded over, perhaps, with a chance of inclement weather ahead?

Remember that we were told this latest Wikileaks disclosure thing is only a starting installment, with even more interesting things to come later.


Wait and see. The Iranians in an English language web outlet, here, have an argument:

The apparently leaked documents suggest leaders of other countries such as Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates as well as the Israeli regime also considered Tehran's peaceful nuclear program an existential threat, urging a US attack on Iran.

At the beginning, Wikileaks sought to shed light on Washington's belligerent polices and condemn the killing of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Nevertheless, analysts believe the recent document release is a scenario carefully orchestrated by US intelligence agencies to deflect attention from the United States' domestic problems, upset the situation in the region and lay the groundwork for military action against Iran.

Puzzling elements.