Daily Archives: September 25, 2013

Tomorrow’s your chance to demand some answers

 

Dr. McKersie won't be available to answer now

Dr. McKersie won’t be available to answer now

Board of Ed meeting, Greenwich High School auditorium, 7:00 PM (sounds like the fun should kick off around 7:30).

Questions to ask:

1. In addition to the 100-150 students enrolled illegally in our grammar schools, how many are in our middle and high schools?

2. How much are we paying the staffer responsible for enforcing residency requirements and how soon can he be fired?

3. This past June, Dr. McKersie, you stated that no more than one or two students were in  our schools who shouldn’t be there, and you resisted the demand that you verify students’ residency, saying such a process would be annoying to parents and would produce no useful information. On what basis did you make that estimate? What data were you relying on?

4. What happens to students who haven’t met the residency verification by the new, extended dateline of October 1st? Will they be barred from entering the schools on that date and if not, why not?

5. How many cases of false residency claims do you expect to turn over to the police for prosecution?

6. What is the status of the legal opinion on the constitutionality of Connecticut’s racial balance law, an opinion that was ordered June 26th. Where is that opinion and why haven’t you released its findings to the public?

7. Will you shave your armpits and don an orange robe when Miss Ramadamadingdong Tamm joins you on the podium November 2nd?

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Hmm – 100, 120 illegal students?

I've got pictures of the little bastards sneaking over the Port Chester bridge right here!

I’ve got pictures of the little bastards sneaking across the Port Chester bridge right here!

Not so long ago – about June, I believe –  the official BOE position was that there were perhaps one or two students in our schools who were not residents of Greenwich and thus didn’t belong here. Under pressure from Peter Sherr,  then a board member and now a write-in candidate (the Republican powers refused to renominate him because they don’t like being questioned), the BOE agreed to require all students to provide proof of residency. How’s that going?

According to a fellow realtor who was at today’s BOE-Greenwich Realtor meeting, Dr. McKersie stated that 400 students have yet to provide the necessary documentation and that the BOE anticipates that “100-120” children will end up being yanked out of our grammar schools.

If my friend heard those numbers right, that’s a rather incredible admission or, to be kind, discovery. Our western schools are about to conform to Hartford’s strict racial requirements, all without busing a single student.

No mention of the legal opinion the BOE is sitting on that addresses the constitutionality of Connecticut’s racial laws in the first place. The longer the Board remains silent on this, the more I suspect that they don’t like what it says. And since the Board is very much against challenging the state on this issue, what do you suppose its suppression of this document means?

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Of course, some of them come with French neighbors

 

$2,325,956. 27 acres, with frog pond

$2,325,956. 27 acres, with frog pond

Six Castles that cost less than a NYC apartment.  And far less than many Greenwich homes.

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Price cut in Milbrook

93 Orchard Drive

93 Orchard Drive

93 Orchard Drive, from $3.499 million (July) to $3.295 today. Owners bought it in 2008 for $3.225 from its builder, who started it off in late 2006 for $4.495 million.

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New Listings

Five, some interesting, some with interesting prices (all opinions subject to seeing these on tomorrow’s open house tour)

14 Licata Terrace

14 Licata Terrace

14 Licata Terrace at $1.139 looks like a pretty good house and price.

16 Interlaken

16 Interlaken

6 Interlaken sounds promising. The street can have some Merritt noise, but those, like this one, that back up to the Burning Tree course usually have views that make up for it. One caveat: the listing says, “not a drive by”, which is never a good sign.

Deerpark (2001 photo)

Deerpark (2001 photo)

15 Deerpark Meadow Road has had nothing done to it since it sold for $3.535 million in 2001 – in fact, it seems to have deteriorated to the point that its new listing now warns, “sold as is”- yet it’s been priced at $5.995. The 2001 price was reached only after its seller had spent a year inching down from an original price of $5.650 million; perhaps that phenomenon will be repeated here.

35 Old Kings - "color by Joanne"

35 Old Kings – “color by Joanne”

35 Old Kings Highway, $789,000 – how far wrong can you go at that price?

72 Hillcrest

72 Hillcrest

And 72 Hillcrest Road Park, $2.495 million, could be a decent find. It’s a 1902 house, remodeled in 2011 and sounds great, but it couldn’t sell for this amount in 2011. I think the market’s improved since then, so this could be its time.

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Cruz quits, for now, Rhinos rush to mend fences

mais oui bien sûr

Obama and friends

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More Mid Country blues

Going down?

Going down?

16 Dingletown Road takes another price cut, to $5.095 million. I like this house: it’s removed from Dingletown itself, has a nice back yard and a convenient location, but I did wonder at the owners’ decision to price it at $6.150 this past April after they’d paid just $5.6 for it in 2011. Now the elevator, having paused at the ground floor, is heading for the basement. Oops.

The owners aren’t alone in their overestimation of the value of this house, however; the spec builder who put it up in 2008 tried $8.995 and various lower price points until he found these people three years later who were willing to pay that $5.6.

I wonder if the buyers made the mistake of looking at the original asking price and figured they were getting a bargain? It happens.

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Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Mid Country, Neighborhoods, pricing

Walt just cancelled his trip to Jolly Ol’ England

 

Never mind, we'll just retire to The House of Weltz, in Greenwich

Never mind, we’ll just retire to The House of Weltz, in Greenwich

Flogging workshop cancelled after Village Trustees discover scheduled “Relationship Support Group” had more than handholding in mind.

  • Trumpington Village Hall, near Cambridge, was set to host all-day BDSM workshop on 12 October
  • £10 day included sessions on spanking, flogging, ‘erotic hypnosis’ and a 30-minute class on nipples
  • Still offered tea, biscuits, sandwiches and crisps throughout
  • But now the event has been cancelled by the venue as the application was made under ‘false pretences’

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We’re not in Riverside anymore, Toto

17 Windabout Lane

17 Windabout Lane

We’re in the mid country, where the prices keep falling. 17 Windabout Lane just cut its price, again, and now asks $2.695 million. To be fair, that’s still a price that, for this house, might face resistance even in Riverside, but the owners can be excused for pricing it at $3.250 million 222 days ago because, after all, that’s what they paid for it in 2002.

Ouch.

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Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Mid Country, pricing

Self-defense is not for the Little People

No soup for you!

No soup for you!

Celebrities like Charlie Sheen springing for million-dollar armored limos.

The combination of guns, death and the particular vulnerability that a car on a public street presents to stars who are under siege from paparazzi and stalkers hits close to home for many in L.A.’s celebrity culture, where spending lavishly on personal security is a seldom-discussed necessity.

According to Aaron Cohen, director of IMS Security in Hollywood, whose clients have included Katy Perry, Kate Moss and Charlie Sheen, the cost to secure the home of a tabloid-exposed family like that of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie can top $1 million a year. So it’s inevitable that celebrities — as well as Hollywood’s high-net-worth agents, studio executives and producers — would extend their security periphery to include the possession that serves as a mobile status-signifier in this car-obsessed city.

Enter the armored vehicle. …

Mercedes, BMW and Bentley quietly manufacture armored versions of their cars. The BMW 7 Series High Security can withstand armor-piercing bullets and is outfitted with run-flat tires and a sealed ventilation system in case of attack by chemical weapons.

Who would begrudge a movie star the right to protect himself and his family? So if Brad “I support the right of Americans to own guns” Pitt wants to buy an armored car to supplement his security, more power to him. But it’s little mini-Bloombergs like Charlie Sheen that are so offensive: Guards, guns and armored cars for me, the hoi polloi  get bupkis:

“If anybody from the NRA wants to look those parents in the eye from [Sandy Hook] and tell them that guns are still necessary, then I urge them to, and see how that goes,” Sheen began. “Because we’re not supported to bury our children.”

Why are stars like Charlie Sheen and Barbara Streisand so special? Well, because… well, because they just are!

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NYC’s next mayor wants to hamper charter schools by charging them rent – heck, Connecticut Democrats and their NEA allies just ban them entirely

 

War on Children

War on Children

Di Blasio and his teachers unions are trying to whittle away at the charter schools threatening traditional, unionized public schools. That’s bad news for poor children, of course, but Connecticut beat them to it years ago by simply refusing to let them exist.

“It’s poor kids or teachers,” Governor Dan Malloy explains, “and which one do you think holds the votes and the money?”

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So what were they thinking in 2007?

125 Pecksland Road

195 Pecksland Road

195 Pecksland Road has a new price, $3.685 million, and notes that it now sports “a fabulous new master bedroom suite” and a new kitchen.  That sounds very nice, and the price looks attractive, but if all that new stuff now makes it worth $3.7, what on earth was the justification for pricing it, pre-improvements, at $6.250 million back in 2007?

Another demonstration, if one were needed, that the authors of Freakonomics were wrong to conclude that real estate agents not only price their own homes higher than comparable homes, but get those higher prices.  In Greenwich, at least, agents are notorious for overpricing their homes, but they never get what they think it’s worth. Emotionalism beats objective assessment, every time, just as it happens so often with normal people.

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Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Mid Country, pricing, Real estate agents, Uncategorized

BOE meets with Realtors

BOE Race Selection Committee

BOE Race Selection Committee

It’s going on now but I missed the notice, unfortunately: maybe I should start reading the newsletter sent out by the GAR Evil Princess each week, but this is the first thing of substance I ever missed out on, so that’s a bad time allocation.

I’m hoping a colleague will report the gist of the discussion.

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On the other hand, here’s someone who disagrees with the previous post

26 Taconic

26 Taconic

Having failed to sell for $5.495 million in 2010 (it started at $6.495 in 2007), Kaali-Nagy has brought 26 Taconic Road back on the market for $5.950. Much as I like Mr. Kaali-Nagy’s work, and I do; he builds a beautiful home, I’ve never liked this one as much as his others. The land sucks: 2 acres, but much of it is underwater in the form of a pond or found on the hill sloping down to that pond. On the busy, lower end of Taconic. The house itself is, to my taste, too dark, in part because of a porch roof on the east side that blocks the sun.

East wall

East wall

When he couldn’t sell it he rented it, for $17,500 in 2008 and $16,000 in 2010. Now that lease has apparently ended, so he’s spruced it up and offered it for rent at $27,500 or purchase, as noted, at $6 million.

I bet he doesn’t hit either number.

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Even accounting for the normal reporter hyperbole, this has some truth, and it will affect Greenwich real estate values

1929 Tesla

1929 Tesla

Wall Street hasn’t recovered from the crash, and probably won’t.

Ever since Lehman’s bankruptcy in September 2008 jettisoned some 26,000 employees, waves of subsequent layoffs have stripped thousands of Wall Street traders, bankers and analysts of their six- and seven-figure salaries and bonuses.

New York City lost some 28,300 securities industry jobs during the financial crisis after Lehman’s demise, according to estimates by the New York state comptroller’s office. That doesn’t include the thousands more that vanished from hedge funds and private equity shops.

Only 8,500 of those jobs have come back in the past few years, according to the comptroller’s office.

“In past recoveries, Wall Street has been a driving force. That hasn’t been the case this time around,” said Kenneth Bleiwas, deputy New York state comptroller.

What’s more telling is that members of the current crop of Wall Streeters just aren’t making the same kind of money that they were before, even if the nation’s banks are racking up record profits. The comptroller’s office said the average salary has fallen by about $40,000 since 2007.

Moreover, bonuses have declined sharply. In 2006, the average Wall Street bonus was $191,360, according to the comptroller’s office. Last year, it was $121,890.

“Five years ago, you almost had unlimited horizon of opportunity, of what you could create or how much you could make,” said Greg Gentile, who was a Lehman credit trader and played guitar at the blues lounge. “That’s been severely limited and capped by regulation and by just a massive decrease in the risk appetite of the institutions.”

One 40-something stock trader who has bounced around major Wall Street investment houses complained of a “morose” mood in his line of work. Bonuses these days are often deferred, tethering traders to their firms longer than they wish.

A former Lehman trader at the Times Square concert summed up the zeitgeist more bluntly.

“Everybody is miserable,” said the trader, who like many still working on Wall Street declined to be quoted by name because his firm prohibits employees from speaking to reporters. “Everybody’s leaving who can, or they’re being squeezed out.”

I sold a $4 million house last year to a banker who told me, “I could buy a $9 million house (and he could have), but I want to be financially conservative”.  Naturally I thanked God for sending me a  client who viewed the purchase of a $4 million house as being “financially conservative”, but the fact is, that was one less sale of a $9 million house. I also have had clients who either deferred purchases or dropped their price ceiling by as much as $1 million when they found out how much of their bonus was going to be deferred: 90% in some cases. I suspect that sort of thing is happening all across the market.

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Barry Husein: we will protect the free flow of oil from our friends in the Middle East

Ccommits our nation to keep the Saudis rich and funding terrorism around the globe, while doing his best to shut down our own production. I don’t think he’s part of the world-wide Islamist conspiracy; at least I hope he isn’t, but he’s certainly helping it along.

While Obama promises to stabilize world oil markets, his administration has presided over rapidly declining oil and gas production on federal lands. At the same time, oil and gas production on state and private lands is skyrocketing.

Federal lands produced 31 percent less oil in 2012 than they did in 2011, reports the Energy Information Administration, while oil production on state and private lands increased by 15 percent.

Natural natural gas production on federal lands has also fallen dramatically over the years — falling by 33 percent since 2007. Natural gas production on federal lands now only makes up 15.5 percent of total U.S. production — down from 24.9 percent in 2009

And of course there’s the Keystone pipeline he’s blocked so that Canadian oil can be shipped to the Chinese, who will burn it there.

Coming our way: Chinese CO2

Coming our way: Chinese CO2

RELATED: Last week the EPA admitted that its shutdown of coal powered energy plants “won’t impact global warming”. This isn’t news to anyone who knows that the Chinese are building one new coal burning plant a day while we’re shutting ours down, but the sheeple cheering on the administration’s war against our economy do not know that: The Jon Stewart comedy show and American Idol don’t cover the topic.

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