The fourth time’s the trick

26 Richmond Hill Road

26 Richmond Hill Road

Brother Gideon’s the agent of record for today’s sale of 26 Richmond Hill Road, four acre land sale, full price, $1.599 million. While it did start at $3.3 million back in 2006, it had dropped to $1.699 by 2010, and stayed there over the years and through the tenure of three agents, without result. Gideon stepped in as the fourth agent, and voila – sale in 94 days. We all know Gid’s a genius at real estate, but sometimes, a buyer just finally happens along.

I’ll be expecting a nice contribution from him to his nephew’s John fund.

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Ron Howard sells house

Full asking price, $27.5 million, two weeks.Nice to have rich friends?


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Solar flare almost destroyed the earth in 2012? This blog had the news then – the rest of the press is just waking up to it

Last daysI wrote about this on July 12 , 2012, to be precise (“solar flare coming our way”) and I’ve been linking to articles on the necessity of hardening our grid to protect against solar storms since at least as early as 2009 . but the press is just catching up to it now: Solar flare nearly destroyed the earth two years ago – NASA

A recent revelation by NASA explains how on July 23, 2012 Earth had a near miss with a solar flare, or Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), from the most powerful solar storm on the sun in over 150 years, but nobody decided to mention it.

“If it had hit, we would still be picking up the pieces,” says Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado.

We managed to just avoid the event through lucky timing as the sun’s aim narrowly turned away from Earth. Had it occurred a week earlier when it WAS pointing at us the result could have been frighteningly different.

“I have come away from our recent studies more convinced than ever that Earth and its inhabitants were incredibly fortunate that the 2012 eruption happened when it did,” says Baker. “If the eruption had occurred only one week earlier, Earth would have been in the line of fire.

The power of this ejection would have raced across space to knock us back to the dark ages. It’s believed a direct CME hit would have the potential to wipe out communication networks, GPS, and electrical grids to cause widespread blackout. The article goes on to say it would disable “everything that plugs into a wall socket. Most people wouldn’t even be able to flush their toilet because urban water supplies largely rely on electric pumps.”

Just ten minutes without electricity, internet or communication across the globe is a scary thought and the effects of this event could last years. It would be chaos and disaster on an epic scale.

“According to a study by the National Academy of Sciences, the total economic impact could exceed $2 trillion or 20 times greater than the costs of a Hurricane Katrina. Multi-ton transformers damaged by such a storm might take years to repair.”

So can all breathe a worldwide sigh of relief? Well, not quite. Physicist Pete Riley, who published a paper entitled “On the probability of occurrence of extreme space weather events” has calculated the odds of a solar storm strong enough to disrupt our lives in the next ten years is 12 per cent.

“Initially, I was quite surprised that the odds were so high, but the statistics appear to be correct,” says Riley. “It is a sobering figure.”

And people are worried about global warming? Harden our electric grid, now.


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They just can’t say no


Why not build an above-ground pool in Cos Cob and move the synagogue to Byram?

Why not build an above-ground pool in Cos Cob and move the synagogue to Byram?

Selectman unanimously give Byram swimming pool project “municipal improvement status”.  The project will next go before P&Z for approval of a preliminary site plan at a yet-to-be-determined date. Municipal improvement status is needed before any alterations or changes to town-owned properties can be considered by municipal land-use agencies. According to town legal counsel, the selectmen cannot formally condition municipal improvement status. However, First Selectman Peter Tesei said they would send a list of primary concerns to Planning and Zoning prior to its hearing of the plan, chief among them being testing for soil contaminants. “I would support moving this forward with the understanding, and the key word here is understanding, that we will have completion and acceptance of all environmental testing,” Tesei said. [In other words, it's unconditional approval - Tesei's "understanding" is merely a non-binding dictum] Town Harbor Management Commissionmember Peter Quigley, speaking as a private citizen, requested the town go beyond state minimums for soil testing, calling the park “almost ground zero” for pollutants due to its proximity to the former Holly Hill incinerator. “The proper soils should be tested and, honestly, not even to the (state) standard, which is just a standard for all town projects, but for any carcinogenic materials — lead, metals, fly ash and levels of arsenic, which may not necessarily come under the state standards,” Quigley said. “Greenwich can lead here for cleaning up its site for town municipal projects.” The selectmen said they placed their trust in the state’s standards and its existing testing procedures. [In other words, we'll test for as little as possible and hope like hell we don't uncover another toxic dump we'll be forced to clean up] The project is anticipated to cost roughly $7.5 million. [In other words, $7.5 to dip our toe in the water and begin a project "too big to fail". We'll worry about toxic soil, budget overruns and the expense of staffing and maintaining a 6,400 sq.ft. pool, bath houses, parking lots and free aerobic classes for town employees later.] Look for this to appear in the 2015 budget.


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Greenwich Association of Realtors strikes back

GAR Directors perform community service

GAR Directors perform community service

I finally got ahold of the grievance filed against me by Ruth Le Blanc Jones and I see that in fact, it was dated almost a year ago, September 6, 2013, and filed at that time with the Greenwich Association of Realtors. That fine institution dithered with it for months and then on its own, “met and referred the ethics complaint alleging a violation of Article 15, along with amending the complaint to include Article 12 [emphasis added]  to the Professional Standards Committee for hearing.”

Well. You should know that the Grievance Committee of the GAR has it within its powers to dismiss a grievance brought by a realtor against another realtor. The fact that my peers not only refused to dismiss this silly claim but took it upon themselves to add a second count and pass it up the ladder to the Professional Standards Committee seems significant, to me.

What part of the Code of Ethics do Ruth Le Blanc Jones and the GAR consider to have been violated by my linking to a newspaper’s report on her arrest for real estate fraud?  Articles 15 and (according to the complaint as amended by the GAR), Article 12, which provide in part,

Article 15  “Realtors shall not knowingly or recklessly make false or misleading statements about other real estate professionals, their businesses or their business practices”.

Article 12,”Realtors shall be honest and truthful in their real estate communications and shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing and other representations.” (Any normal person, reading Article 12, would think that the GAR will soon be turning in its own member firms for violating this rule, but don’t count on it).

So, according to the Greenwich Association of Realtors, it is a violation of their code of ethics to accurately link to a newspaper’s report that another real estate agent has been arrested for a “real estate scam conspiracy”.  It is, apparently , a  violation of that same ethics code for a blogger to permit a comment from Nancy Healy, former president of the Greenwich Association of Realtors and former head of the Grievance Committee, that pointed out that Ruth Le Blanc Jones illegally collected an excessive rental security deposit from the scammed tenant.

By the GAR’s reasoning, I have violated their code by, in the past, reporting stories involving agents who used a client’s vacant house to screw in, agents arrested for embezzling clients’ funds, agents arrested for drunk driving while escorting clients around town, and so forth. If it involves  fellow realtor, says the GAR, you mustn’t speak about it, especially if it’s true.

This is the same association that operates a monopoly on Greenwich Real Estate and, in furtherance of that monopoly, has removed all past history of real estate sales from public view. They are referring me to the ethics board?  Right.


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Head of the Democrat Party goes fund raising


Obama and your money arrive at Bob Hope Airport, Burbank: "Time to take the dough, nuts".

Obama and your money arrive at Bob Hope Airport, Burbank: “Time to take the dough, nuts”.

Keith Koffler has some thoughts on the subject

To paraphrase someone famous, At some point, you’ve raised enough money. President Obama’s decision to go on a whirlwind West Coast fundraising tour while facing so many foreign policy crises is so incomprehensible it even has Democratic allies who stand to benefit from the loot he picks up scratching their heads. “I think the world would very much respect his increased attention on this matter,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said of one of the many overseas problems Obama faces.

I wanna tell you something. The issue is not just – as many in the press are suggesting – the symbolism, the “optics,” the need for a president to look serious and resolute during tough times. The problem is substantive.

I do not for a moment believe that the president is as focused on world affairs and the demands of his job while he’s schmoozing donors and hopscotching around the West Coast as he would be were he in the Oval Office or the Situation Room, assuming he’s there without Beyonce and Jay-Z.

The president doesn’t just arrive at these fundraisers, speak, scoop up checks and leave.

He presumably has to do some preparation so he knows who he is going to be hitting up for money. And then he has to do some amount of glad handing.

For example, last night at the home of Hollywood producer Shonda Rhimes, the president made a little speech and then spent 90 MINUTES hanging out. Ninety minutes. We don’t know what he was doing because the press was shoveled out of sight following the remarks.

Total roundtrip time from Obama’s hotel in Los Angeles to the fundraiser at Rhimes’s pad was nearly three hours.

Now let me ask you who are working, or who are retired and surely remember your workdays: How often did you have the ability to create a three hour hole in your day? How much work would you have gotten done that day?

Russian proxies just shot down a commercial airliner, Russian soldiers are now firing into Ukraine,  Israel is in  fight-to-the-death battle in Gaza,  Iraq is falling, Syria is still Syria, China and Japan just told us to piss up a rope, they’ll be proceeding with coal expansion projects and we can take our global warming initiative and shove it, and Michelle’s girls are still missing over there somewhere in Africa. Obama’s response to all this? Seven days of fund raising trips in the past twelve days.

Our constitution envisioned and empowered a president to lead our country and to protect us from our enemies; no mention is made in that document for any duty to raise money for the president’s own political party, but that’s how our Barry spends his time these days. he’s abdicated in all but name, and if it weren’t Joe Biden who is next in line to take his place, we’d be better off with him officially gone.



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31 Fairfield Rd

31 Fairfield Rd

31 Fairfield Road, asking $2.550 million. Owners paid $2.5 for it in 2002 and made some improvements. Nice house, not an ideal location on this busy road. Of course, if it weren’t located where it is, it would cost more – that’s how this works.

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