Daily Archives: June 6, 2013

Dang it, I’m going to miss the circus

Suddenly called out of town this evening and won’t get back before 10:00. Walt, I deputize you to report on the scene. You don’t have to actually attend, mind you- pretend you’re a real reporter and make things up.
You go, boy!

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Don’t you miss the glory days?

 

362 Davis Avenue

362 Davis Avenue

362 Davis Avenue, Unit #3, is back on the market after having been rented out the past year. It’s asking $1.150 million, which I suppose isn’t a bad price in view of its 2005 purchase price of an even $1 million, but down quite a bit since it was first put up for sale in 2006 at $1.695. What struck me, however, was that in October of 2005, just six months after the unit traded at a million, some bank loaned $937,500 on it. Ah, easy money.

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A tale of two cities

Two sales reported today, one in Stamford, one in NoPo Riverside, both around the same $800,000 price.

Home sweet Bonwit

Home sweet Bonwit

14 Bonwit Road, Riverside, was listed at $745,000 and immediately went to a bidding was and sold for $802,000.

100 Den Road

100 Den Road

100 Den Road, Stamford, started at $1.295 million 400+ days ago, finally dropped to $775,000 this past February and it too, triggered a bidding war and sold for $781,000.

Comparisons:

Taxes: Bonwit, $5,900         Den Rd: $11,654

Bldg: Bonwit, 1,915 sq. ft.    Den Rd: 4,000

Land: Bonwit,     1/4 acre      Den Rd: 1.0 acre

Pool: Bonwit, inflatable, with swimmies     Den: in ground, heated.

If the BOE succeeds in wrecking the perceived superiority of Greenwich schools (an increasingly easy task), I  think Bonwit values will start looking like Stamford’s; Tod’s Point just isn’t that great to support this kind of price differential.

 

 

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Kick the busing can down the road

I hold in my hand a list of every white child in Greenwich; I want them moved.

I hold in my hand a list of every white child in Greenwich; I want them moved.*

BOE has released its agenda for tonight’s agenda on shifting students around according to their race.

Here’s the scenario so far, as detailed in the latest communication from the school board, and yes, it’s all about race – nothing more, nothing less.

Letter dated June 11, 2012, Connecticut State Board of Education to Greenwich:

Hamilton Avenue and New Lebanon School continue to be racially unbalanced. The Greenwich Board of Education currently has in place a plan to correct racial imbalance, which was amended in 2010. The CSBE expressed concern that the imbalance of Hamilton Avenue and New Lebanon has not improved, and has “requested” [sic] that the Greenwich Board of Education present a revision to its plan.

The CSBE has requested that you attend its meeting on October 3, 2012, so that the members can discuss with you the revision of your plan and how to remedy the continuing racial imbalance in the Greenwich schools.

Tonight our BOE will present four options, three of which rely on more of the same magnet schools that the CSBE has already declared inadequate, ineffective and in violation of Connecticut, if not federal, law (the fourth option, a vast reshuffling of the entire town’s student population, is politically impossible and is included solely as a straw man).

The only thing the current proposals will do is, if we’re lucky, keep the state off our back for another year or two, during which time the current board members can jump ship, leaving it to others to deal with the racial imbalance and the runaway cost of the music palace. We will never have racial balance in Greenwich without forced busing, and here’s the reason why, neatly encapsulated on page 19 of the BOE’s informational package:

Over the past 15 years [1998-2012], minority enrollment in the Greenwich public schools increased from 19.3% to 30.6%. Hispanic students account for most of the increase.

So a third of our student population now belongs to some racial group singled out by the government as deserving of special protection, and reading the charts supplied by our BOE, most of them are poor and illiterate. That is not a population likely to be able to afford to live in Riverside or even Cos Cob (no matter how much at home they might feel in the latter). Magnet schools aren’t going to change that fact and sooner rather than later, the CSBE will be dragging Dr. McKersie or his successor up to Hartford for yet another appearance before the tribunal.

So two alternatives: bus students from white-majority schools west and south to the Port Chester border or close New Lebanon and Hamilton Avenue and bus their students east and north. I suspect no one outside of the New Lebanon and Ham Ave schools care if door number two is chosen; the goal in the next two public hearings and continuing thereafter is to make it crystal clear to the BOE that the first option is a non-starter.

Of course, the best alternative is for the town to sue the state and get the entire state law requiring schools be balanced by race unconstitutional. We’d win, in my opinion, and even if we lost we’d be back where we are now, ten years later. As our board has repeatedly demonstrated and will do so tonight, they can live with delay.

* this caption has been criticized as unfair to our school board’s position, a criticism I reject. Is there such a list? Of course there is, or we wouldn’t have been able to count the students and conclude that schools are racially imbalanced. Are students going to be moved? That’s the whole point of this exercise.

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If you take a walk, I will tax your feet

Everything: I want everything

Everything: I want everything

Obama and his bi-partisan pals impose a tax on Christmas trees. It just passed the house this week.

Some in the Christmas tree industry sought to develop a promotional program to assist its industry. After three failed attempts to set up a voluntary system, they turned to the federal government to do what it couldn’t: Force Christmas tree producers and importers to pay for a Christmas tree promotion program.

On November 8, 2011, the Obama Administration issued a final rule that approved a new program to help promote Christmas trees. The government would set up a Christmas Tree Promotion Board, with one of its goals being “to enhance the image of Christmas trees and the Christmas tree industry in the United States.” It isn’t clear why Christmas trees need help with their pristine and festive image ….

The government is driven to expand, always.

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Here’s a nugget that explains much of how our state “works”

"God, these people are stupid". Gov. Malloy basks in self-adulation as he closes 2013 legislative session

“God, these people are stupid”. Gov. Malloy basks in self-adulation as he closes 2013 legislative session

This week, Democrats took $30 million (of $40) from some slush fund called  CEFIA and tossed it into the budget breach. Nothing unusual about that: they’ve been raiding the gasoline tax highway infrastructure fund and using it for food stamps and UConn women’s studies for years, so why not this one? But it’s fun to watch competing liberal agendas clash.

CEFIA, it turns out – I’d never heard of the program – is a program (was a program) that takes money from small utility consumers – residential homeowners like you – and “loans” it to businesses of all sizes to encourage them to employ energy saving practices in their buildings. You might ask why you, a homeowner, should pay UBS to install better filters in its air conditioning system, but that’s because you aren’t a Democrat legislator and thus can’t grab ahold of the nuances at work here. In any event, you’ve been dinged via a special tax just to do that, but now the legislature has changed its mind, and the “special tax” is now just “another tax”.

Of course a tax has always just been a tax, but our leaders do so love to pretend otherwise. Do you remember when they passed the “windfall profits tax” on oil companies two decades ago? You should, because you’re still paying it; you, not the evil oil companies. The legislature knew when they enacted the law that they couldn’t prohibit oil companies from passing the new tax onto customers, but they loved the title. Same general principle at work here with CEFIA: promise them anything, but give them the shaft.

UPDATE: Two days ago a federal appeals court ruled that then-Governor Rowland’s firing of state union employees when they refused a pay freeze was illegal. Malloy applauded the decision, presumably because he can now pretend to ease his budget deficit with union concessions while assuring his union base that he can’t enforce any such demands.  The decision, by the way,will also tie the hands of local municipalities when they try to rein in exorbitant union contracts.

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Obama administration’s definition of “workplace violence” gets stretched thin

Disgruntled employee

Disgruntled employee

Christian Science Monitor: 

The admission by Army Maj. Nidal Hasan on Tuesday that he attacked Fort Hood in 2009 in defense of “the leadership of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the Taliban” has suddenly undermined the Obama administration’s previous contention that the murders of 13 soldiers at the Texas base constituted an act of “workplace violence.”

You will recall that Obama has refused to call Hasan’s murderous attack an act of terrorism because it might undermine his right to a fair trial.

As recently as May 23, President Obama said no “large-scale” terrorism attacks on the homeland have occurred on his watch.

Officials at the US Department of Defense have said there isn’t enough evidence to put Hasan on trial for an act of terrorism, and they have worried that such a claim could undermine the Army major’s right to a fair trial.

Critics argue that the Fort Hood incident has not been characterized as a jihadist attack in part to give the Obama administration political and policy cover. Moreover, they add, the Obama position works to the detriment of shooting victims, which includes the 32 wounded and the families of those killed. Victims would have been eligible for combat compensation under US law if the Pentagon had classified Hasan not as a murderous US Army psychiatrist but rather as an enemy combatant or an “associated force” under the Military Commissions Act of 2006, they say.

Hassan has received more than $237,000 while awaiting trial; his victims have been denied combat compensation. Protecting victims, and the country, or ensuring that a terrorist is protected from the results of his deliberate actions? In our brave new world of political correctness, that’s no contest.

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