Daily Archives: April 1, 2014

Media bias? Say it ain’t so


Nothing to see here

Nothing to see here

Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds on the media blackout of California State Senator Leland Lee’s arrest for arms smuggling.

California State senator (and, until last week, candidate for secretary of state) Leland Yee was well-known as an anti-gun activist. Then, last week, he was indicted for, yes, conspiring to smuggle guns and rocket launchers between mobsters and terrorists in exchange for massive bribes. Somehighlights, as excerpted by San Francisco Magazine.

Yee told an FBI agent that, in exchange for $2 million in cash, he’d fill a shopping list of weapons, which he took personal responsibility for delivering, according to the indictment. He also allegedly “masterminded” a complex scheme bring illegal weapons into the country, agreeing to “facilitate” a meeting with an illegal arms dealer to arrange for the weapons to be imported via Newark, N.J. In arranging all of this, the indictment said, Yee relied on connections with Filipino terrorist groups who could supply “heavy” weapons, including the Muslim terrorists of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Yee allegedly noted that the Muslim terrorists had no reservations about kidnapping, extortion and murder.

This all sounds like news. You’ve got charges of huge bribes, rampant hypocrisy, illegal weapons and even a connection with foreign terrorists — and from a leading politician in an important state.

But — and here’s the part Hollywood would miss — outside of local media like San Francisco magazine, the coverage was surprisingly muted. The New York Times buried the story as a one-paragraph Associated Press report on page A21, with the bland dog-bites-man headline, “California: State Senator Accused of Corruption.” This even though Yee was suspended, along with two others, from the California state senate in light of the indictment.

CNN, home (also until last week) of Piers Morgan, whom Yee had praised for his anti-gun activism, didn’t report the story at all. When prodded by viewers, the networksnarked that it doesn’t do state senators. Which is odd, because searching the name ofmy own state senator, Stacey Campfield, turns up a page of results, involving criticisms of him for saying something “extreme”. Meanwhile, CNN found time to bashWisconsin state senator and supporter of Gov. Scott Walker, Randy Hopper over marital problems.

But there’s a difference. They’re Republicans. When Republicans do things that embarrass their party, the national media are happy to take note, even if they’re mere state senators. But when Democrats like Yee get busted for actual felonies, and pretty dramatic ones at that, the press suddenly isn’t interested.

It’s almost as if “what’s news” is just a synonym for “what advances the narrative chosen by the Democratic Party.” The question that “news” operations like CNN may want to ask is, how many people are really interested in getting their news from party organs.

Glenn Harlan Reynolds, a University of Tennessee law professor, is the author of The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself.



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Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the Mickster’s got himself a stealth listing

510 Valley Road

510 Valley Road

Cos Cobber asked about 510 Valley Road, $3.750 million, and wondered whether it was a new listing or had he been asleep at the wheel? If he was dozing, so was I, because I didn’t see this come on. What a gorgeous house. This is up Valley, just past Mimosa and immediately before the third bridge (counting up from the Post Road) crossing the Mianus, where the river is ponded by the water company’s dam a half-mile down stream. Perfect location and a beautiful house, for a great price. A tip of the tam-o shanter to Mickster for getting that right.

Its open houes is this Thursday and I’ll report on it then, but you probably should hurry: the Mickster is rumored to have carved a potato into the shape of St. Joseph and stuck it head down in the beet garden, so this will undoubtedly sell quickly.


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And back for more abuse ….


37 Richmond Hill Rd

37 Richmond Hill Rd

37 Richmond Hill Road, way up in Greenwich-Siberia, is off the rent rolls and up for sale again, this time for $4 million. The original owners paid $3.6 million to a spec builder for this in 2000, tried selling it for two years in 2008-2009 for $7.450, then gave up and rented it out. It’s owned by a relocation company now so I figure I can be mean here without hurting anyones feelings, and there’s a lot to be mean about.

At least to my eye, this house represents everything that went wrong in the past decade’s building boom, as builders with New Jersey tastes swarmed in and erected houses that their girlfriend Snookie would drool over. They’re too big, they’re too garish and they’re sure as hell too far from town (for their owners’ convenience – far as I’m concerned, the farther away these things are, the better).

All that said, there’s nothing that can’t be cured here with a small Bob Cat and enough wallpaper stripper. And four acres, even four marginal acres, is a fair amount of land. If for some reason I wanted to live in a 10,000 sq.ft. house on Richmond Hill Road, I’d wait out the repo company, let it rent it out for another term and grow tired of maintaining a depreciating asset, then throw in a bid at $3.2, and see what happened.


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New listings hit the market

There’s a flood of them today, all ranges, all locations. Here’s what I think is a representative ample:

21 Center Drive, Old Greenwich, $989,000. Sold for $938 in 2005. Nice street, but lack of a garage is a bummer.


70 Hunting Ridge

70 Hunting Ridge

70 Hunting Ridge Road, $5.195 million. Built in 2002, it sold for $4.700 in 2004.


15 Spring Street

15 Spring Street

15 Spring Street, Riverside, $2.250 million.


26 Thornhill Rd

26 Thornhill Rd

26 Thornhill Road, NoPo Riverside, $939,000. I had this listing back in 2005 when it was priced (not by me) at $1.150 and we couldn’t sell it. Now Fran Ward at Shore & Country has it and I think it will sell quickly at its better price. Thornhill is a quite little street that runs between Riverside Land and Sheephill with just about zero through-traffic, and this house is – or was in 2005, in great condition, with a decent back yard. Its trouble lay in the location of its master bedroom, which was placed atop an add-on living room with no real connection to the rest of the house except by descending the stairs into that living room, crossing through the kitchen and then into the rest of the house. That’s a great layout for a family with teenagers; for those with toddlers, not so much. As I recall there’s not an inch of expansion room to spare here, so the obvious solution of adding an upstairs passageway won’t work. But if you can live with the layout, this is a very nice house for the money.

36 Shore Road

36 Shore Road

And back to Old Greenwich, 36 Shore Road,on Tomac Cove is on the market for the first time in a long time, $3.295 million. I quite liked this house (I represented the owners in the legal work when they bought it) and it still looks fine. Waterfront on the (relative) cheap, and Tomac Cove provides protection from the worst of storm waves. If I have my local history and The Winthrop Woman right, the town’s settlers first landed here, before spreading out to slaughter the soon-to-be-obsolete Siwanoys.



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New waterfront listing, Old Greenwich


Ah,the good old days, when, if you wanted waterfront property, you just made it yourself!

Ah,the good old days, when, if you wanted waterfront land, you just made it yourself.

25 East Point Lane, one-day-only price, $10.995 million. Owner paid $4.1 for the land in 2002 and built this beauty on it. Very nice, and I’d be tempted (only the matter of funding keeps me from jumping on it), but I’ve been looking up in Maine lately and I must say, the dollar goes quite a bit less here than it does up there. On the other hand, this one has multiple baths – in Maine, they seem to think that one will suffice regardless of number of bedrooms.

Fantastic views, beautiful workmanship, and you can even walk to the beach. Go get it.

Joe Barbieri listing.

UPDATE: Owner tells me that flood insurance is $465 per year, excess coverage, $15,000 per yr.


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Retal activity vs. single family sales

It looks as though there were 67 rentals in town that went to contract last month (March, 2014, for those not keeping up) and 86 single family homes. I’ll confirm those numbers and compare them to other years but it seems to me that that’s more rental captivity than average.

UPDATE: so much for intuition. The 2013 numbers for March were 81 rentals, 54 single families. Even allowing for my still trying to learn to use the new MLS data, it appears that the market for both rentals and sales is up considerably from last year.


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They’ll stop at nothing

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Uh oh, back to jail


Missed you

Missed you

The politician who John Rowland is alleged to have conspired with just pled guilty in exchange for her testimony against him and a promise of probation.

A major domino fell Monday in a federal probe into alleged illegal consulting work done by convicted felon and former Gov. John G. Rowland, with an ex-client of Rowland’s pleading guilty in federal court to conspiracy.

Lisa Wilson-Foley, 54, admitted to entering into an unlawful conspiracy with Rowland during her unsuccessful bid for Congress in the 5th District in 2012, federal authorities announced.

Wilson-Foley’s husband, Brian Foley, 62, also pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Hartford to the same charge, which carries a penalty of up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

Rowland, 56, was a paid consultant for a chain of nursing homes owned by Brian Foley at the same time he served as a political adviser to Lisa Wilson-Foley, who finished last in the GOP congressional primary.

Wilson-Foley’s campaign never reported making any payments to Rowland to the Federal Election Commission, which spawned a complaint from rival GOP candidate and former FBI agent Mike Clark that she was hiding political expenditures.

Last month, Hearst reported an indictment was imminent in the case of Rowland, a Republican who resigned as governor in 2004 and served 10 months in prison for corruption.

Multiple people close to the current investigation told Hearst that Rowland turned down an 18-month prison sentence as part of a plea deal. If Rowland were to be charged with a crime in connection with the ongoing investigation, as a second-time offender, the penalty he might incur would be increased by 50 percent under sentencing guidelines.

In return for their cooperation with the government’s investigation of Rowland, Wilson-Foley and her husband are expected to receive probation and fine, a person familiar with the dynamics of the case told Hearst.

Rowland is the prime target of a far-reaching dragnet for political corruption in the state that has ensnared his former campaign manager and several political aides of former Democratic House Speaker Chris Donovan, a top-level source close to the investigation told Hearst last month.

At the center of the probe is $35,000 in consulting work Rowland did for Apple Health Care, a chain of nursing homes owned by Brian Foley.

Mark Greenberg, who finished ahead of Wilson-Foley but lost to Andrew Roraback in the 5th Congressional District primary, testified before a federal grand jury that Rowland approached him with a similar a proposition that he rebuffed.

That deal involved Rowland offering him campaign consulting services in return for being put on the payroll of Greenberg’s nonprofit animal shelter, Greenberg has said publicly.

Idiot fool.


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Republicans announce plans to erect public housing at former power plant site

Future home of "Bush Holly Flats"

Future home of “Bush Holly Flats”

Greenwich First Selectman Peter Tesei announced today a proposal to build 1,215 units of moderate income housing at the waterfront property formerly owned by the defunct New Haven Railroad on the Cos Cob waterfront. When completed, the 625 residents of Adams Garden in Riverside will be moved there, and the Adams Garden acreage will be re-zoned for single-family housing and industrial use. Remaining units at what Tesei says will be named “Bush Holley Flats” as a reflection of its architecture and the mud flats surrounding the site, will be reserved for tenants of Armstrong Court, and assigned by lottery.

“The fiasco at GHS taught us something,” Tesei told reporters, “which is that we shouldn’t mess with PCBs. The expense of clearing up that Pandora’s box will be stunning, and even threatens to bankrupt the town in the decades to come. The liability we’d expose taxpayers to if we permitted their children to play on contaminated fields at what until today we’d planned as a recreation area is mind-boggling, and as Chief Executive, I simply won’t let that happen. Yes, it’s a tough decision, and I know that many parents will be disappointed to lose the additional playing fields they, and we had anticipated, but I was elected to lead, and this decision is, I believe, in the very best interest of the town.”

Jim Campbell, Chairman of the Republican Town Committee, flanked Tesei during his speech but declined comment afterwards other than to say, “this one’s on Peter.”




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