Daily Archives: November 13, 2012

Good thing I refuse to fly

Exactly how much flight time do you have, Captain?

I won’t endure TSA body gropes and the rudeness of government apes, but for those who  have no choice, you’re about to run out of pilots.

Federal mandates taking effect next summer will require all newly hired pilots to have at least 1,500 hours of prior flight experience—six times the current minimum—raising the cost and time to train new fliers in an era when pay cuts and more-demanding schedules already have made the profession less attractive. Meanwhile, thousands of senior pilots at major airlines soon will start hitting the mandatory retirement age of 65.

Congress’s 2010 vote to require 1,500 hours of experience in August 2013 came in the wake of several regional-airline accidents, although none had been due to pilots having fewer than 1,500 hours.

Regional carriers now are racing to make sure their pilots have 1,500 hours by next summer, while also trying to bolster their ranks. But prospects with close to the required number of hours aren’t numerous. “These people just don’t exist,” said Mr. Garton of American Eagle.

You’ll soon find no pilots available to fly you into regional airports but don’t worry, Congress has thought of that too, and has refused the FAA permission to shut any down, even at night. In fact, not only can’t they be shut down, no matter how little used, our representatives just mandated a doubling of the number of controllers at each one, 24 hours a day.

These are the people regressives say will solve health care and balance our budget.

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More on the BOE’s Peter Braun

I know nothing!

Board of Education member Peter Braun is defending a lawsuit brought against him to foreclose his two-unit condominium spec project at 623 Steamboat Road by claiming that the loss is the lender’s fault: it should have known he was too stupid to be entrusted with millions of dollars. I understand why Braun would employ this defense – it succeeded once before, 15 years ago, when he sued a local stock brokerage firm for taking advantage of his financial naivety and inexperience, so why not go back to the well?

And had he asked me, I’d have been happy to serve as a character witness and attest to the absolute truth of his claim of imbecility, but I do wonder whether a man who by his own admission is an unsophisticated financial idiot should be on a board that decides how to spend literally millions of our tax dollars – 75% of our total budget. Does that make sense?

Not to me but then, I’m not one of the handful of wise men of the Republican Party who select BOE members.

Here’s a listing for one of the units in question. Mud flats on one side, busy road on the other, asking $4 million? I must be nuts.

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Real estate news!

Yes, it’s back, after a two-week hiatus occasioned by Hurricane Sandy. Here are some highlights:

A condo at 77 Havemeyer Lane sold, full price, for $903,350. Units in this development on the Old Greenwich /Stamford (but entirely in Stamford) border are really beginning to sell after long years of zoning lawsuits, financial woes of the original developer and lousy market conditions. All that seems to have been resolved and things are looking busy over there. Which is great, both because it gives Greenwich residents looking to downsize a nice alternative to less convenient, older yet more expensive Lyons Farm condos and for the rest of us a thriving micro-community on our border instead of an abandoned failure. Good news all around.

195 Bedford, asked $2.350, got $1.945.

23 Dorchester, Riverside, sold for $1.150 which I believe a couple of my clients will confirm was what I thought it would go for. Plain vanilla, but walking distance to the schools and train, nice street.

47 Indian Field Road has a contract. It was asking $989,000 but it’s in such very rough shape I’m a little surprised it’s found a buyer so quickly. But it’s a non-conforming three-family on a large lot so that’s something. It’s going to swallow a lot of money before its ready for occupancy, though.

15 Delwood

15 Delwood (off of Old Church Road) on the other hand is in incredible shape. Even at its asking price of $4.495, I thought this was a good value (its owner paid more for it when it was new). Beautiful house, no yard – if you can live with that, what a great location and home. My clients were tempted but ultimately elected to buy something else with a larger yard to accommodate their swarm of young children, and that’s perfectly understandable. But I’m not at all surprised it found another buyer so quickly.

99 Londonderry, asking $1.995, also has a contract. Backs up to the Burning Tree golf course and that’s nice but if someone is paying more than land value for this house then he has a different estimation of what renovation costs will run to.

And 505 Indian Field Road in Mead Point has a contract, direct sale. Asking $8.750 million, I wrote about this house when it first came on the market, saying that I thought it was well priced for direct waterfront in this location. I haven’t changed my mind. And the existing house, sure to hit the dumpster, is high enough up to escape the worst of the storm surge.

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Don’t know about politicizing the Greenwich Board of Ed but I do have a suggestion

Dumb as a stump?

The Democrats and the Republicans are squabbling over which party’s candidate should head the BOE. While past performance is no guarantee of future results, the track record for this board suggests that whichever party runs the show, the dismal decline in student performance will continue.

But while we’re busy rearranging the deck chairs, why not toss Peter Braun overboard and open up a spot for someone, anyone else? We can install Braun as Village Idiot instead – yes, he’s unqualified, but we can make it an affirmative action hire.

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This is dull

There are still 25 minutes to go before today’s broker open house list is final but so far, it looks like the fall season has ended. Just eleven listings, which include several rentals, a pile of retreads and one short sale in an undesirable (to me) area of town. Those owners are way underwater, there’s a $900,000 gap between what they’re asking and what they owe the bank (about a 35% difference) and short sales are so tenuous, time consuming and so likely to fail that, for this location, I’m not interested in even driving there to view it, let alone try to sell it.

If a client does express interest, I’ll advise them to  wait for its title to pass to the bank via foreclosure and we can deal with a different, easier-to-get-along-with department. The employees handling short sales are a pretty incompetent bunch.

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Cheer for this triumph against greed, then unpack your bags

Greenwich Democrat triumphant

Wall Street bonuses to be flat, reduced or in the case of 20% of its employees, non-existent.  Dodd/Frank has squeezed the profitability out of the industry and the law’s effects are only just beginning to be felt: Hiawatha Warren, scourge of Wall Street, has been whooped into the Senate by liberals regressives aghast at the very idea of someone else making money (new money – if your grandfather did his looting in the early 20th Century well that’s alright then – who else will keep Nantucket home values up?) and your children will be delighted, as they’ve been taught to be by their teachers, whether in public or that private school costing $40,000 per year per adorable towhead.

Wonderful news, of course, but Greenwich homeowners hoping to sell their houses might temper their enthusiasm a bit because – here’s a little-known-secret – those Wall Street bonus babies are the very people who have been purchasing what your friends and neighbors have been selling at such magnificent levels. The music has faded, the horses are slowing to a halt and you, my friend, are still stuck on the pony. Bad luck, eh?

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