Monthly Archives: April 2014

Let’s hope Tesei did better this time


The NW corner gets its firehouse

The NW corner gets its firehouse

Swears in his personal choice for new fire marshal, overruling the department’s preference. Tesei hasn’t done well in his selection of people to fill this position – the last disaster afflicting the department was Joe Benoit, fired for incompetence by Jim Lash and promptly rehired and promoted by Peter Tesei as one of his first public acts. Benoit eventually retired on a comfortable pension, which you are paying as you read this.

In a rare reflective moment, Tesei struggled today to sum up his philosophy on life in general and fire marshal jobs in particular: “Yesterday was yesterday,” our modern Socrates declaimed to the Greenwich Time, “while today is today.”

With Mensa material like that guiding our town, how can we go wrong?


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Ogilvy’s trying it again, on the other side of the harbor from Copper Beech


The offending pool which appears to still be unfenced. Guess it wasn't important after all.

The offending pool, which appears to still be unfenced. Guess it wasn’t important after all.

[Edited to reflect new information]

He’s brought 14 Marlow Court on the market for $18 million. Well, maybe he’ll get it. The owner paid Sandy Rand $9.5 million for this in 2002, an amount so astonishing it had all of us laughing up our sleeves. The guy had lived next door to this property and (rudely, some say) demanded that Rand fence in his pool. The pool was grandfathered, Rand refused, so the gentleman said “name your price”. Sandy called his friend Ogilvy for a price opinion, Ogilvy said “$10 million”, and the neighbor, unaware of Mr. Ogilvy’s reputation for being “optimistic” in his valuations, deducted the commissions and paid the price. Hahahahaha.

But who knows? If he gets anything close to this price he’ll have had the last laugh, twelve years later. And he can always take satisfaction in, after being rejected for membership by the Riverside Yacht Club across the water, successfully shutting down the club’s 50-year-tradition of skeet shooting.

Of course, we can take our own satisfaction in keeping him out of the club: don’t you just love petty quarrels?


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Back after a time out


95 Butternut Hollow

95 Butternut Hollow

95 Butternut Hollow Road, priced at $10.5 million in 2008, has been trying to find the right price ever since. Today it’s at $5.950. Lovely land, lovely, 1936 house, and perhaps $6 million will attract a buyer. One caution, however, is that the beautiful sparkling pond behind it is actually our reservoir, off limits to human use. I’d find that frustrating if I lived here, like living next to a golf club that won’t let you join.


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The Purple Prose of Texas

434 Riversville Road, new at $2.690 (sold for $2.525 in 2005). Described thus:

Remarks: Beyond the gate the Belgian block lined driveway winds through terraced emerald lawns cresting on a majestic plateau on which is sited this stunning home with sparkling pool and magnificent views. Situated on 4 dramatic acres this 4 bedroom, 4.1 bath home offers a gourmet kitchen w/center island, an adjoining breakfast room opening to a terrace, an elegant master suite, 3 fire places, a large media room/play room. Skylights and vaulted ceilings fill the home with the light and openness so desirable today.

Looks thus:

434 Riversville



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Diane Fox to retire from P&Z

The Fox Legacy

The Fox Legacy

The announcement will be made public today, actual vacation of office probably in June. Nothing much will change; her replacement, Katie Blankley (daughter of perennial Democrat candidate, John), shows the same ignorance of and indifference to private property rights as Fox, but at least we’ll have the satisfaction of paying two salaries, Blankley’s and Fox’s pension, instead of one. Bad government is supposed to hurt.


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Lesson here is, never live in a “historic district”


Being built

Being built

Architect and his wife ordered to tear down their partially-built home after historic commission reverses itself and revokes certificate of appropriateness. I had a friend have this happen to him in Rockville, MD, and the legal costs to prevail ate up his entire renovation budget. Stay away.

 A respected North Carolina architect is facing being ordered to tear down his dream modern home because it is out of keeping with the historic neighborhood.

Louis Cherry and wife Marsha Gordon had been given approval to build their sleek two-storey home in Raleigh last September.

But six months into the project, the council revoked their permission after complaints that the design was ruining the look of the surrounding area.

House of complaining neighbor

House of complaining neighbor



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Who’d have expected this?

2009-07-06-economist-cover-needle-obamaMedical spending up 10% as the result of ObamaCare. And it’s just getting going.

Spending on health care grew an astounding 9.9% in the Bureau of Economic Analysts’ advance estimate of first-quarter GDP. It’s the biggest percent change in health-care spending since 1980, when health-care spending jumped 10% in the third quarter. Analysts said it’s primarily due to a consumption boost from the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Adjusted for inflation, America is spending more on health care than ever.

Personal consumption grew by 3.0% — about half of which was due to the growth in health-care spending, said Ian Shepherdson, the chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. “If health care spending had been unchanged, the headline GDP growth number would have been -1.0%,” Shepherdson said.

A BEA spokesperson said the uptick “reflects additional spending associated with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.”

The White House, of course, promised otherwise:

Bending the growth curve of health care spending: In keeping with President Obama’s pledge that reform must fix our health care system without adding to the deficit, the Affordable Care Act reduces the deficit, saving more than $200 billion over 10 years and more than $1 trillion in the second decade. The law reduces health care costs by rewarding doctors, hospitals and other providers that deliver high quality care, making investments to fund research into what works, and cracking down on waste, fraud, and abuse.

And here’s a Harvard economics professor chiming in  T

The anger over the botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act’s federal health insurance exchange — and over the conflicting explanations about whether people can keep their coverage — has been bipartisan and well-deserved. The administration needs to make personnel and management changes to get enrollment back on track. But the focus on insurance coverage obscures other parts of the ACA that are working well, even better than expected.

It is increasingly clear that the cost curve is bending, and the ACA is a significant part of the reason. Since 2010, the average rate of health-care cost increases has been less than half the average in the prior 40 years. The first wave of the cost slowdown emerged just after the recession and was attributed to the economic hangover. Three years later, the economy is growing, and costs show no sign of rising. Something deeper is at work. The Affordable Care Act is a key to the underlying change.

And Paul Krugman

So, how’s it going? The health exchanges are off to a famously rocky start, but many, though by no means all, of the cost-control measures have already kicked in. Has the curve been bent?

The answer, amazingly, is yes. In fact, the slowdown in health costs has been dramatic.

And on and on and on. The only curve being bent here is the taxpayer’s spine, as he’s forced over and given it good and hard.


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