Thursday, November 29, 2007

WARDEX annual meeting...

Yesterday I spent the entire day in Lake Havasu City. The first annual meeting for the Western Arizona REALTOR Data Exchange (WARDEX) was held in front of a group of about 40 or so Members.

I'm not going to bore you with the details of the meeting, but I did want to share some feelings.

There are many people that were involved in bringing together an effort to provide REALTORS in Mohave County a regional Multiple Listing Service (MLS). It was late summer of 2005 when I attended a local Kingman/Golden Valley Association of REALTORS (KGVAR) Brokers Council meeting when the idea was shared that it may be time to coordinate an effort to combine three different local Associations MLS' into one large organization to serve the REALTOR Members in Mohave County.

Since that day (fateful day maybe??) there has been an ongoing and constant endeavor that many volunteers collaborated on that produced where WARDEX is today. There were way too many challenges to remember along the way, but somehow the fine people involved found a way to navigate through those fiery hoops and over the hurdles. There still is a long way to go to make WARDEX a fine running machine, I won't kid anyone with anything otherwise.

The first challenge for this group was a prevailing attitude that three different Associations (the Lake Havasu, Bullhead City, and Kingman/Golden Valley local Associations) could or would work together and unite for this change. Apparently there has been a bit of a rivalry at times between the three Associations over different issues in the past. However I was not aware of these rivalries and did my part not to let past issues stand in the way. Luckily, the hand of fate brought together a diverse group of Members from each Association that wouldn't let the days of yesterday interfere with the needs of today and tomorrow.

I believe the group knew going in that change in of itself is not permanent, but change is. We all knew that change would be difficult when it was imposed on many people but change is constant for the REALTOR Members of Mohave County. Take the real estate market itself over the course of the last five years... it equals constant change in one direction or the other.

Probably the main challenge for WARDEX was that we combined three different data sets into one, and it simply was not a pretty sight when it was first implemented. Today, the 'pretty sight' may not be perfect (and it may never be) but it is getting better all the time.

Sometime in 2006 WARDEX formed a nine Member Board of Directors with three Members representing each local Association. That group of nine has been together since then, but sadly some of those Members will be leaving the Board of Directors as their terms are up. The nine of us have sat together for many marathon meetings and have had many teleconferences. These folks helped create something from nothing and we all have experienced something new together. There have been rough moments and heated disagreements but those often led to something positive. I'm simply proud to have been lucky enough to serve with those other Members.

Beyond the nine original Directors for WARDEX there were others that contributed along the way, the following is what I hope to be a very inclusive list of folks that I remember having a hand in the formation of WARDEX. This is my way of thanking them, and if you are a REALTOR Member of WARDEX and happen to come across any of these folks on the list, please thank them for their efforts.

From the Arizona Association of REALTORS

Michelle Pepper, Region 1 VP of the Arizona Association of REALTORS
Ron LaMee, Vice President of Information Services

From the Bullhead City Association

Evan Fuchs, 2007 President of WARDEX
Nancy Ryan, 2007 Director of WARDEX
Greg Bishop, 2007 Director of WARDEX
Stephanie Lance, BHCMHAR Association Executive
Toni Parker, former BHCMHAR Association Executive
The staff at BHCMHAR
Nola Charles, Member of the original steering committee
Jennifer Collins, Member of the original steering committee
Ann Pettit, Member of the original steering committee

From the Lake Havasu City Association

Cheryl Westwood, 2007 Vice President of WARDEX
Paula Singleton, 2007 Director of WARDEX
Lori Doerfler, 2007 Director of WARDEX
Ken Standahl, LHCAR Association Executive
Pat Killoch, Staff LHCAR
The staff at LHCAR

From the Kingman/Golden Valley Association

Ben Gangloff, 2007 Secretary/Treasurer of WARDEX
Wayne Wissenger, 2007 Director of WARDEX
Frank Lessing, KGVAR Association Executive
The staff at KGVAR
Karen Smith, Member of the original steering committee
Bill Barnes, Member of the original steering committee
Rita Zumwalt, 2007 President of KGVAR
The 2006 KGVAR Board of Directors
The 2007 KGVAR Board of Directors


Jack Best, CEO of WARDEX
Joan Day, Compliance Department of WARDEX

Oh I'll bet that I left out some other folks that have had a positive hand in the creation and implementation of WARDEX, and for that I apologize for that... but I also thank you for the contribution.

I'm proud to serve on the WARDEX Board through 2008. There is still much work to be done and I am looking forward to it.

Cheers to all!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Am I a 'pamphleteer'??

I've been 'blogging' since March of 2006. This qualifies me as a 'blogger'. Actually I am a real estate blogger and in many eyes, that is probably even worse.

Over the years that I have been pursuing the many various web sites and 'blogs' I have seen journalists and a host of others disparage 'bloggers' to some degree. I take no personal umbrage to the disparagement... and honestly I don't think of myself as a 'blogger' or amateur journalist. This blog allows me the opportunity to say what is on my mind and sometimes more than a hundred other people tune into this place and see what I might be whining about on that particular day. I believe that I saw that there are over 50 millions blogs in existence (probably more), and I bet many of those blogs deserves some disparagement or scorn from time to time by professional writers and the like.

What I want to share with you today is a look at some disparagement from a well known sports journalist towards, I guess, bloggers everywhere. This sports editorialist is Bill Conlin of the Philadelphia Enquirer. As many of you may know, I'm a loyal sports fan of professional teams from the Philly area (hey, the Eagles almost shocked the NFL on Sunday night so I have that going for me right now), and since the advent of the Internet (thanks Al Gore) I have been able to read columns from the likes of Philly sports writers, including Mr. Conlin.

I tend to think that Mr. Conlin's columns are pretty good, but he will stick his neck out and say some crazy things that will get a rise out of the Philadelphia Phaithful Phans from time to time.

Apparently, Mr. Conlin got himself into a little email battle with a contributor from a sports related blog. Many years ago when I first started reading Conlin on the Internet I emailed him some saucy comments for not voting for Nolan Ryan for the Hall of Fame... and to my surprise... Mr. Conlin emailed me back. I was shocked to get a return email, but after that I never bothered to exchange emails with him again... I stuck to reading his columns.

If you've read this far you can probably guess that this post has nothing to do with real estate or local politics in Kingman, and if you do guess that way you will be right. I wanted to share a couple of things that I felt were interesting... and entertaining.

Here is the first blog post about the Bill Conlin email exchange taken from a blog called ''. That is for background and for the feint of heart there is some harsh language so be warned.

Today this appears from the same blog, and this is where my real entertainment begins...

This is Mr. Conlin in an email...

The only positive thing I can think of about Hitler's time on earth-I'm sure he would have eliminated all bloggers. In Colonial times, bloggers were called "Pamphleteers." They hung on street corners handing them out to passersby. Now, they hang out on electronic street corners, hoping somebody mouses on to their pretentious sites. Different medium, same MO. Shakespeare accidentally summed up the genre best with these words from a MacBeth soliloquy: ". . .a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. . ."

Oh... Mr. Conlin... first of all he broke Godwin's Law. Major faux pas in the realm of online discussion.

Secondly, I cannot believe a man from the so called 'Traditionalist' generation would even think of stating something positive about Hitler's time on earth.

Lastly, and this truly is the beauty of blogging and online discussion -- and I'm talking pure gold here -- is that someone, anyone is free to respond. One of the comments left on the blog follows...

Uh, Bill. I'm pretty sure the Pamphleteers were on the winning side, and their views were largely vindicated, leading to the formation of a wildly successful nation off whose tit you now suck in the form of Social Security?

Drag your ass off the stool at Pat's Steaks and take the visitor's tour at Independence Hall for a refresher.

I still cannot stop laughing... this is a great retort. Seeing that response has only made me even more proud to be a so called 'pamphleteer'. Honestly though, being called a blogger really isn't that bad and hopefully I, too, will be on the winning side of things and make a difference.

Be sure to add you own magic in the comments here at MOCO Real. The time is yours.

Family friendly cities...

Here is a bit taken from the Opinion Journal website.

Interesting to note...

Married people with children tend to be both successful and motivated, precisely the people who make economies go. They are twice as likely to be in the top 20% of income earners, according to the Census, and their incomes have been rising considerably faster than the national average.

Indeed, if you talk with recruiters and developers in the nation's fastest growing regions, you find that the critical ability to lure skilled workers, long term, lies not with bright lights and nightclubs, but with ample economic opportunities, affordable housing and family friendly communities not too distant from work. "People who come here tend to be people who have long commutes elsewhere, and who have young children," notes Pat Riley, president of Alan Tate company, a large residential brokerage in Charlotte, N.C. "They want to be somewhere where they don't miss their kids growing up because there's no time."

Be sure to read the whole thing. I believe that part of the challenge for Kingman and it's future lies with attracting the so called Millennial generation. I know that the Boomer generation is also slated to come this way, but successful working families will mean much more to the economy and the health of the city. Plus, if the efforts to attract working families are successful, those folks will live and add to the prosperity of Kingman for a much longer time. To me it is the better long term investment to make and it MUST be part of the equation for planning the future of Kingman.

Been out gathering signatures...

On my quest to qualify to be on the ballot for the City Council election I have been out gathering signatures on petition forms. Posting may be a little light the next few days.

If you would like to sign the petition for me and I haven't been by your office, please feel welcome to stop by my office where I will have one available for you to sign. Please remember that you must be a registered voter in the state of Arizona AND a resident of Kingman. Also, you should be aware that you may only sign up to three petitions for candidates for City Council. So far I know of only four folks that have submitted paperwork to run for office.

For now though, if you'd like to comment on this post, give me an idea of what you'd like to see from a candidate that would equal earning your vote next March.

Be back soon...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Deal of the day...

I wanted to start something new on this real estate blog. From time to time I search the MLS that I am a member of (WARDEX) and find what I consider to be a 'good deal'. Now what I may consider to be the best deal may not be to someone else... what I plan on passing along is very subjective.

I'm also feeling a bit feisty these days as well. I am going to set up a link to the listing that I am considering the best 'deal of the day' today. There are many rules and regulations that a member of an MLS must follow and often they are complicated and even stupid. What I am about to do is advertise a listing... yeah, I know that doesn't sound like a big deal but... it is NOT my listing or my brokers listing. My actions could be considered a breach of conduct in the MLS ranks, but I'm willing to risk it today.

Let me set this up and include some disclosures and disclaimers. Today's edition of 'deal of the day' is for what I consider the best deal in the subdivision known as Walleck Ranch right here in Kingman. I happen to live in Walleck Ranch. I have an active listing in Walleck Ranch. According to the MLS today, there are 18 single family homes for sale with a price range of $185,000 to $345,777.

Click here to see the 'deal of the day'.

Closely consider the lot size for a moment as it is over 11,000 square feet. That is known as a premium lot in Walleck Ranch. My personal lot on my home also sits on a premium lot and my lot square footage is only 8,800 square feet in size in comparison. Click on the photos of the home from the link and notice that the interior looks to be in good shape. I have not seen this home other than from the outside front view.

The most recent sale of a home near this size (most comparable) was sold in October for $270,000 (the exact figure may be a few hundred dollars off). The asking price on the 'deal of the day' equals $109 a square foot and that figure marks the lowest price per square foot in Walleck Ranch for any listing that appears in the MLS at this time.

I do heavily consider this listing to be the best 'deal of the day' because of price and availability.

I have not asked the listing broker or agent for permission to advertise this listing and you will notice on the link that my information is plastered all over the place. So I am making the disclosure on the listing broker and agent right here.

MLS# 804846
Listed by Eagle Realty (928) 718-0800
Agent's: Wayne Wissenger and Lana Johnson

I have no intention of collecting any associated real estate fees in a successful transaction for this particular listing unless I have an agreement with a qualified buyer who hires me to represent the buying client in a successful transaction for purchase of this home.

I think the above will be the disclaimer if I continue with the 'deal of the day' theme. Don't be shy, if you want me to investigate other subdivisions for a different installment of 'deal of the day' then leave a comment or email me.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Other people's scissors...

Typically I like to take out my scissors and cut away at items that a particular community group insists on putting in the local newspaper. And I have heard from different sources that RAID is VERY insistent on getting what they have to say in that paper. They've even been known to inquire on word counts and that type of thing before they respond.

When RAID is not demanding that their voice is added to the opinion pages, or setting up photo opportunities when they pull paperwork at the city offices, you will see them lecturing the City Council and other city commissions at various meetings. This may surprise you, but I think they are doing a good job for a political action committee. RAID is Kingman's own version of '' and 'Swift Boat Veterans against John Kerry'.

Lately I've noticed some backlash against RAID coming from many other residents in the Kingman area. There are responses to RAID's columns and letters on the KDM website, and the total number of folks writing back against RAID is large and growing, and those numbers do not only include the contributors here at MOCO Real.

I thought I'd share a couple with the readers here.

The first one adds some humor, much needed humor to the mix. See the letter here. My favorite couple of passages follow...

Residents Against Irresponsible Development (RAID) is just that vague. They need a more specific and well-defined acronym so we all know where they're coming from.

I've come up with some I hope they will consider. It's tough to beat a snappy name like RAID, and my first attempts fell way short of the mark. ERAWWV (Elderly Residents Against Whippersnappers With Vision) just doesn't have RAID's zing.


Then came KRINGE - Kingman Residents Intent on Negating Growth and Economics. I have to admit that would be a tough one to beat. It has all the elements; A name with real zing that basically tells everyone what they're all about. I think they should consider it. But I don't know, maybe it's too long. Short and sweet, that's the ticket. You know, keep it simple and to the point. Kingman Residents Against Progress! This baby has it all! When people tell you they belong to KRAP, well, that says it all!

Somebody gave me a better acronym for RAID, try Radical Activists Inhibiting Development on for size... but I must say that KRINGE and KRAP are really good. Nice creativity out there.

You may have run into a little tussle on the letters to the editor page recently involving a sitting city P&Z commissioner (and a Mohave County P&Z commissioner as well, but that person is not addressed in the response).

I guess it all started with the following article about a current City Council member attending a RAID meeting. Article here. Some telling quotes from RAID to follow.

"Tom is the only one who will go into enemy territory," said Marvin Robertson, one of RAID's founders.

Nice to see that RAID admits that they are the enemy.

RAID member Loyd Peterson said he thinks Council has an attitude that, "We want it all right now and to hell with the future."

This from the same group that begged us all to wait a year before doing anything about the future. Nice. Well, I beg you to read that entire article again and keep in mind that the article appeared before the last local issues election. You will see that RAID is adamant about putting non revenue generating applications on the resident owned 168 acres of land along Interstate 40 instead of conditioning the property to be in a position to sell or lease for top dollar AND to generate much needed sales tax dollars, impact fees, and other benefits.

Moving on now, the article helped produce a response from a few Kingman residents and you can see the entire letter to the editor here. The following is a sample from that letter...

We have yet to see a viable solution to anything from this group. In our eyes, all they do is worry about their neighborhood and try to create chaos so Nick Wilbur has something to write about.

The personal attacks on the mayor and City Council members are outrageous and unfounded. We would like to see one shred of evidence that any member of our current Council has benefited from anything on those silly little signs that are getting plastered all over town. Until we see some proof, the RAID crew will, in our eyes, be the ones that have no integrity and can't be trusted.

RAID, your 15 minutes is up.

Of course that meant that RAID would have to stick up for themselves and now a response was posted on the KDM website and you can see that here.

It was also interesting to see RAID fire back at the call to the public portion of the last city council meeting last Monday night. It appears that they believe that if they speak on a zoning issue in front of the Kingman P&Z commission, they will want P&Z commissioner Jim Cave to recuse himself because he exercised some free speech.

I told you so... I told you that RAID would want us all to kiss the ring, to get their blessing, to make whatever new commission they want to form now to be satisfied before anything positive can be considered. Yet... we haven't seen a one of them put their name in the hat for any of the positions available on City Council. RAID appears to be satisfied in their role as 'armchair QB' or 'side-seat driver'.

We've seen enough from RAID to know that they offer hypocritical arguments. When I asked the community groups to work together late last summer to come up with some needed solutions, I was 'rebuffed' by RAID. Now the day after the election they are asking everyone to work together for solutions.

We all saw RAID support a major amendment to the general plan on resolution 4423 at a P&Z and City Council meeting, only to come right back up and deny a different major amendment (resolution 4425) and even use the reason that the general plan was voted on by Kingman voters and the general plan shouldn't be changed without another vote. Hardly a model of consistency there.

And not to forget how RAID used reasoning to defeat the bonds such as protecting those folks on fixed incomes by not adding to the cost of property taxes, but only a day or two after the election we see that RAID offered up a plan to have the public vote on a bond to improve the lands of their main political ally.

So it shouldn't surprise the fine folks of RAID that they have created their own critics through their own words and actions. I suspect that we will see more critical comments as we move along.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The local labor market...

I know that many of you are either out shopping for the holiday season or are stringing up festive lights and decorations for the upcoming holiday season right now. Of course some of you are also at work today.

I want to talk about local labor today for a bit. I attended the latest CIVIC meeting on this last Tuesday night. Before I go on, I ask you all to attend the next series of meetings offered by CIVIC. The meetings so far have been very informative on a wide range of local and political issues. The setting is unique for these meetings because you are allowed to come into the meeting and leave the meeting with an open mind (no secret hand shakes, no swearing allegiance to any political viewpoint). Along the way... I guarantee you will be informed further on the subject matter of the meeting and the free will to react to it the way you see fit.

Bob Riley, the Director of Economic Development from the Kingman Airport & Industrial Park, was the guest speaker on Tuesday. I thought he shared some very interesting information with those that were in attendance.

There is an article in today's paper that covers the meeting. The article is not on the KDM's website as of yet but I will come back and link to it if I find it there. And here it is.

Mr. Riley said, simply, that profit is the main motivator for businesses to move to Kingman... or worse... move out of Kingman. He went on to list the many advantages that Kingman has to offer a company to get them to consider Kingman... however there is other disadvantages that cause certain business to NOT move into the Kingman area.

The most striking bit of information that works against Kingman is the average age of the Kingman labor force. I believe that Mr. Riley said the average age is 45 years old. He described another smaller city in Utah, Cedar City, as having many of the same advantages that Kingman has but said that the average age of labor there was only 28. Mr. Riley considers Cedar City to be a main competitor for new business and the average age discrepancy as a clear disadvantage when it comes to attracting the new business and jobs.

Jobs. I'm sure that the subject of jobs will come up frequently when the candidates for city council and mayor begin their quest to get elected.

The information that I have been collecting about the local economy shows me that Kingman is actually doing pretty good on the job front... sort of. Unemployment is low... that normally is a good thing. Mr. Riley though said that in fact the current labor market is basically maxed out... and aging. Can you see the potential problem?? I can.

I have no belief that the city government can 'create' more jobs in Kingman. That is not even a responsibility of the city, county, or state government in my view. However, if the city wants to continue to grow... and grow responsibly... the city must do its job to attract a more diverse labor market... and obviously a younger one.

Right now I could ask you to head to the RAID website so you too can learn that Kingman is poised to see wave after wave of soon to arrive retired members of the Baby Boomer generation, and maybe even save the day and the local economy. Heck, I was even told (via email) that if I could wait for that magic moment to begin that I would be selling so many houses that I wouldn't know what to do with myself. In fact you will see that a new proposed hospital will be the 'eye-catch' that will bring these retiree's in by the bus loads.

What I might want to know if I was of the Boomer generation is... who is going to service me in a maxed out labor market?? I might also want to know what kind of amenities does the community of Kingman offer me??

While I agree with many that the weather in this particular part of Arizona is incredible year around as compared with other parts of the the state, the weather is still really nice around the state as compared to where many of these Boomer's are going to come from. Weather alone will not make Kingman the number one spot to begin a quest for a retirement location.

Boomer's are used to and demand many of the same amenities that younger generations grew up with. Boomer's shop at ALL the big box stores, eat all the same national chain restaurants, and watch movies at all the large cinema's... just to name some things that most other locations in Arizona have that Kingman does not in vast quantities for choice. While many point to the 'inevitable' wave of Boomer's moving to Kingman to save the day, I point to the chance that those Boomer's may not choose the Kingman area to reside in because they may choose a different location. I've yet to hear a Boomer say that they hope to settle down in a town that is basically a truck stop haven. With many truck stops already available to choose from in Kingman and even more on the way in 2013, or thereabouts, I bet that we do capture those Boomer's that demand to reside in such a community. Will it be enough??

Well I'm not putting all my eggs in the Baby Boomer basket.

It is time for the city of Kingman to sit down with private commercial developers that want to bring in more choice for amenities that appeal to people of all age groups. Kingman has to realize its potential and emerge from 1980's conceptual thinking. The city is going to have to rely on the developers to improve the area and therefore help attract a younger labor market. Big box stores and restaurant chains will not do it alone, but it is one step in the right direction.

Now I'm not stating that Kingman should roll over for any developer. I think that if a developer wants to create a better location for development along the Interstate, for instance, then the developer should be willing to be part of the effort to improve the infrastructure that will enhance that opportunity. If the developer can provide an opportunity to either front the money needed or simply pay the entire bill for infrastructure to enhance their property, the city should be negotiating a possible agreement to insure that there is also a 'win' position for the community.

We won't know the potential for a 'win' position in our favor as residents of this community until there are talks on the table with developers. Voters of Kingman just told the city that they weren't willing to make the investment in infrastructure improvements by denying the bonds that were on the ballot. The city is losing the sales tax base slowly and surely. Sales tax is the main source of revenue that pays for city services. The money needed to improve the city has to come from somewhere and one of the remaining possibilities for needed funds for infrastructure is from the private developers themselves.

Are you ready to begin talks with developers?? I am.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Turkey Day!!

Here's to you and your family on the Thanksgiving holiday. I hope you all get your fill of the feast.

If you are traveling, please be safe. I want you to come back and visit often.

I want to express my many thanks to you all that frequent this site, this season I am most thankful for the interest and participation you have shown here at MOCO Real.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I'm in...

Today I filed the necessary paperwork to begin the quest to be nominated for the office of City Council in Kingman Arizona.

I will begin circulating petition forms and hope that you will sign the petition as a registered voter that lives within the city limits. I am in need of some help, so if you or someone you know would like to help collect signatures please don't hesitate to get in touch with me.

As for my platform in which I will use to ask the citizens of Kingman for their votes, well... there is plenty to see right here on this blog for starters. Get caught up by reviewing past articles and of course JOIN THE DISCUSSION as it moves forward.

I have no intention of running against any other particular candidate, I simply want to advance an agenda that I believe will be positive for Kingman in the near and long term. Please stay tuned because I think you will favor me as your representative on City Council as the days and weeks move forward.

One of my favorite buzz-words is 'collaboration'. Together, you and I have at our fingertips a wonderful opportunity to work together in shaping a better tomorrow in our community. We can use this blog, the Internet, and other means to formulate our positive thoughts and ideas into something that will help lead us all towards the kinds of benefits and prosperity that a growing community should enjoy. We will be part of the solution.

There is plenty of work to do starting right now. Of course I will be asking for your vote, for now though I will simply feel honored to have you sign my petition forms as I make my way through Kingman.

Thank you.

Monday, November 19, 2007

So why the change of heart??

The question from the title is directed at my favorite... well... my favorite local community group guest columnist, such as a spokesperson, through which views are expressed, that contributes to the Kingman Daily Miner.

I'm sure you all remember the many nuggets of wisdom that she has passed on to the readers of the KDM in the last year or so. If you are having a difficult time remembering these, just click on any of these words to refresh your failing memory.

I'm going to focus on something that she put in the paper way back in March, you'll find the entire guest column here.

This column was part of a response she made to a local developer, the 'you' she refers to in the following passage is that developer.

I do agree with you that the landowners surrounding Rattlesnake Wash have not agreed to participate in the cost of construction, however, that is not a criteria to build the interchange. The state of Arizona will pay 70 percent and the city will be responsible for 30 percent of the cost. I believe that these big (local) landowners will find it in their best interest to help fund the interchange because they will certainly benefit from it being built.

I wonder what moved her propose the following passage from her most recent guest column (click here to read it all) ??

Approve a $10 million bond to provide the funds to make the Rattlesnake Wash interchange a reality. (ADOT has it on the plan and will pay 70 percent of the total.)

From a belief that (local) landowners would help fund the project to flat out asking the tax payers of this community to fund it 100%. Nice.


Yes... I saw a particular 'letter to the editor' in last Sunday's edition of the Kingman Daily Miner.

I ask that you please click the link and read the whole thing for yourself. I am not going to dedicate all that much time into disagreeing with parts of the letter. The author is a respected business owner in the Kingman area. He has voiced his displeasure and criticism at City Council meetings many times over the course of the last 6 months or so. He was one of the most visible critics of the former city manager that has since been fired from that position. He is also the same person that publicly took a swipe at a local community group that has only one mission... to get more people to vote in this community.

I find the author of the letter to the editor to be a person that I will sometimes agree with, and sometimes disagree with. The same goes for the letter that was published on Sunday.

However, there is one passage in the letter that I would like to discuss and share information. By now, most all of Kingman has heard of the infamous email quest that some citizens have pursued. The pursuits led those citizens to sue the City of Kingman for more emails.

What some may not know is that many emails (not all) were released by the city some time ago (before the summer months of this year). The gentleman that wrote the letter to the editor and I had a brief discussion around that time. He asked me if I had seen the emails at that point and I informed him that I had not. He told me that I could come by his office and pick up a copy that he would furnish for me. Keep in mind that at the time the number one target of all this was to convince the City Council members to have the city manager at the time fired.

The expressed reason that this gentleman gave me the copies was so that I'd have one of those "AH-HA!!" moments revealing to me why the city manager, the consultant the city hired to possibly sell the city owned 168 acres, and city department heads should be fired (and why everyone else is either a crook or scoundrel). Before I received my copies I had already reached my own conclusion about the city manager... and yes... I believed the city manager needed to go.

In just a moment I will be sharing with you the emails that were given to me by the author of the letter to the editor in regards to what the city, the consultant, and the developers at Kingman Crossing were up to in late February and early March of 2007.

First, the following comes from the Sunday letter...

The mayor says they will sell our 168 acres at Kingman Crossing for $28 million and he won't give Kingman Crossing our sales tax revenue. That's not what the e-mails show.

The city is paying 14 percent for consulting on Kingman Crossing. Why do the e-mails say Vestar won't pay for any of the interchanges; that's not what the city said? Why did developer Bill Nugent and his partners get to keep the money they sold their property for at Kingman Crossing, but we are to use ours to pay for the interchange? Why do the e-mails say Beecher and Stone and Youngberg Capital Group would like to call our 168 acres a blight area so our citizens can't vote on the property sale?

The emails that were given to me by the author of the above are what follows. I took the time to recreate these to use on this blog. I also put the emails in chronological order and will be starting from the beginning. I have hard copies and I have scanned copies on PDF files. If you wish to compare what follows with the copies that were given to me you may stop by my office or request the copies in an email.

I do not have any other copies of any other emails that may have since been released. The only other emails that I have seen published somewhere are from this article back in August. I still believe that if something inappropriate was done and the emails clearly pointed to the transgression... we'd see the emails on the front page of the Miner. The only emails I've seen in the paper are the ones from the link.

The beginning of the conversation about city/developer development agreements and 'blighting' of the resident owned 168 acres...

From: Christine Roberts
Sent: Wednesday, February 21, 2007 3:21 PM
To: Brian Kennedy
Subject: Arizona State Legislature: HB2508 Municipal Tax Incentives...

From: Brian Kennedy
Sent: Wednesday, February 21, 2007 3:32 PM
To: 'Rob Owen'
Subject: FW: Arizona State Legislature: HB2508 Municipal Tax Incentives...

This is the full text of HB2508 -- see Page 6.

Brian H. Kennedy

From: Brian Kennedy
Sent: Wednesday, February 21, 2007 4:34 PM PM
To: Paul Beecher
Subject: FW: Arizona State Legislature: HB2508 Municipal Tax Incentives...

Paul: Can we make Kingman Crossing a Redevelopment Project Area -- see Page 6.

Brian H. Kennedy

Here the city manager was asked a question by the consultant. A Redevelopment Project Area is a fancy way of imposing blight on property. You will see more about this later.

From: Paul Beecher
Sent: Thursday, February 22, 2007 8:44 AM
To: Coral Loyd; Rob Owen
Subject: FW: Arizona State Legislature: HB2508 Municipal Tax Incentives...

Can we?

Here the fired city manager asks his loyal department heads about the prospects of perhaps 'blighting' the resident owned 168 acres.

From: Rob Owen
Sent: Thursday, February 22, 2007 9:48 AM
To: Paul Beecher; Coral Loyd
Cc: Brian Kennedy; Carl Cooper
Subject: RE: Arizona State Legislature: HB2508 Municipal Tax Incentives...

I think the council would have to declare the area slum and blighted prior to designating it a redevelopment area. Might be a reach.

From: Coral Loyd
Sent: Friday, February 23, 2007 1:44 PM
To: Rob Owen; Paul Beecher
Cc: Brian Kennedy; Carl Cooper
Subject: RE: Arizona State Legislature: HB2508 Municipal Tax Incentives...

I agree with Rob -- No, the Kingman Crossing area does not meet the definition for a redevelopment project area.

Great answers. I can't see the current City Council ever agreeing to 'blight' Kingman's best land asset. Council, in fact, agreed to change the land use designation on the General Plan to do just the opposite. The successful referendum (the defeat of Prop 301 and Councils decision) though... not so much.

From: Brian Kennedy
Sent: Friday, February 23, 2007 1:56 PM
To: Brian Masterman
Subject: FW: Arizona State Legislature: HB2508 Municipal Tax Incentives...

On what grounds is Sierra Gateway within a Redevelopment Area?

Brian H. Kennedy

From: Brian Masterman
Sent: Monday, February 26, 2007 7:42 AM
To: Brian Kennedy
Subject: RE: Arizona State Legislature: HB2508 Municipal Tax Incentives...

In years past, it was much easier to declare a property as "blighted". Most of the Palmdale (like Moreno Valley) was considered blighted. In the good ol' days, undeveloped property would qualify as blight.

As you see now, the consultant decided to get more clarification on what constitutes a Redevelopment Area and found out that California has a different set of rules than does Arizona.

From: Brian Kennedy
Sent: Monday, February 26, 2007 10:05 AM
To: Paul Beecher
Cc: Rob Owen; Coral Loyd
Subject: FW: Arizona State Legislature: HB2508 Municipal Tax Incentives...

We are working on two similar areas in Palmdale and Moreno Valley California which had never seen prior development and yet met the "blight" definition. Are there any precedents in Kingman where "blighted" means "undeveloped"?

Brian H. Kennedy

From: Paul Beecher
Sent: Monday, February 26, 2007 10:07 AM
To: Brian Kennedy
Cc: Brian Masterman, Coral Loyd, Rob Owen

I was out on my quad yesterday and saw a truck leaving our property with an empty flatbed; upon further investigation I noticed that whoever it was had dumped a lot of trash at the sight; that, along with the car chassis, several tires, a broken doll house and too many Wal Mart plastic bags to count must surely qualify our property as blighted.

End of email stream

Yeah... the dude (the former city manager) needed to go. He is gone. But it does sound like the Kingman resident's owned property could use some sprucing up.

Still the Sunday letter author alluded to something along the lines of the mission to 'blight' the property was done to avoid Kingman voters voting on whether or not to sell the 168 acres. The election was nearly 2 weeks ago, and the voters voted not to sell the property. What is the 'gotcha' moment here?? I can't find one.

So far the emails that were given to me by the Sunday letter writer do not show me anything he alluded to in the Sunday letter.

The last email that was given to me on the Kingman Crossing subject follows. I was not given any follow up emails that may have come from the fired city manager or any other city staff person or current city leader.

From: Brian Kennedy
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2007 4:33 PM
To: Paul Beecher
Cc: Brian Masterman; Jeff Weir
Subject: Kingman Crossing - Site Planning

Paul: The following issues came up at yesterdays' meetings with Vanderbilt/Vestar and Continental:


  • They were not aware of the fact that the City Land cannot be included in the CFD while owned by the City. This led to discussions on an ID as an alternative approach -- we told them the City does not want ultimate liability.
  • They were not interested in planning the City Land.
  • They are looking for a 5 to 7 year "icing" on the City Land -- no competing development
  • If the City Land was sold for retail development they wouldn't proceed with the Interchange. Two competing projects would destroy each other
  • They would not pay cash for the City's 50% of the Interchange -- but would consider covering the City Land's annual assessments during the "ice age" with repayment out of eventual sale proceeds.


  • Believe that competition is healthy and both projects would flourish
  • Acknowledged that their planning pricess would be designed to serve their Company's best interests
The biggest concern was Vanerbilt's statement that they would not proceed with the Interchange in the event we introduced competition. While Vestar would be concerned about retail competition on say 70 acres of the land, Vanderbilt would still have 110 acres (after the Interchange taking) to develop for all of the same non-retail uses that we would want to attract on the City Land. Any slae of the City Land before the Interchange construction contract was let could be clouded by concern that Vanderbil/Vestar might pull out -- leaving a reduced and wary field of competitors. My initial conclusions are:

  • S&YCG should initiate planning on the City Land but not to the level of detail and specificity as a PDD would require. All appropriate uses should be addressed including retail, commercial, multi-family residential etc. The primary purpose would be to indicate to the public and prospective buyers what the City would like to see on the property. Not knowing at this stage who the buyer might be and the timing of the sale, greater definition in my opinion would be premature
  • We should anticipate a sale in late 2008 at the time of construction start to the Interchange. The buyer will be assured of an Interchange.
  • Steps to seek voter approval to a sale should be taken in November of this year using the conceptual development plan and Interchange funding plans as support
  • If Vistoso/Vestar want to freeze the use of the City Land they should buy it. Alternatively they should finance and absorb the full Interchange cost for so long as the City holds it off the market for the benefit. Presumably this issue will become part of the Revenue Sharing agreement
  • If the City put the City Land up for sale and Vistoso/Vestar withdrew from the CFD, the City could threaten to use the sale proceeds to pay for the north side 50% share -- and to impose a new traffic impact fee (or similar if you have one) on all new development on Kingman Crossing North. That should bring them back to the fold.
  • If the City is prepared to freeze the use of the City Land we need to devise a way to "temporarily" convey it into private hands for purposes of CFD financing. One idea is that if we could get around the competitive bid situation, the City could sell the land to a private entity for a nominal sum with the right to repurchase at the same amount in 5 to 7 years. In the meantime Vistoso/Vestar would cover the annual assessments. In 5 to 7 years the site would be sold to the highest bidder just in time for the City to contribute its share of Rattlesnake Wash.
  • Vestar asked whether we could create a Redevelopment Area, presumably to solve the CFD problem -- should we explore this further?
  • We need to engage Vanderbilt/Vestar in discussion on the above and their revenue-sharing ambitions as soon as possible -- I think they will clarify a lot of things and give us ideas.

End of email.

I'm just not seeing it folks. I'm not feeling it. Are you?? If so, I'm all ears and would love to know why you might agree with the Sunday letter author on why the unearthed emails are so detrimental to the city.

A short summary...

I got the clear indication from the emails that department heads at the city were not going to recommend that the city leaders blight Kingman's best land asset. Maybe the city manager (at the time) would have, but he never did, and he will never get the chance.

I saw nothing in the emails that stated Vestar won't pay for the interchanges (note -- plural as it appeared in the Miner). There is talk about NOT proceeding with the interchange (singular) if the city sells our best land asset in the infamous emails that I have a copy of.

There was also a bit saying that Vanderbilt/Vestar would not be paying cash for the 50% that presumably the city would be on the hook for since it is the owner of the land on the other side of the Interstate in the way a normal CFD might work. But it should be noted that the city cannot enter into a CFD so that part is a dead issue anyway at this point with the fact that the city is still the owner of the property. Reading the last email again though leaves me with the impression that there IS actually some kind of expectation for Vanderbilt/Vestar to pay for 'something' if there is going to be a new interchange along Interstate 40 near Kingman Crossing.

It is clear that at the time of the emails, the land developers on the north side of the Kingman Crossing area did not want the city to sell the 168 acres on the south side. They did not want competition. The north side landowners company name begins with a 'V' and so do the rest of the companies and LLC's that are involved, and all of those parties have been vilified by the Sunday letter writer, the good old boys, and RAID. And all of those folks worked together to get a result from the election that favored all of the 'V' parties. I bet those 'V' parties sure learned their lesson.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Somebody clearly drank all the Kool-Aid...

You know folks, I am truly enjoying the fact that we are seeing more conversation about local issues on the Internet these days.

In the last week or so I've noticed that the Kingman Daily Miner website has been putting responses to on line articles and columns in less than a weeks time, which has most likely spurred others to respond to the responses. One on line column has over 20 some odd contributions from readers (scroll down on that link) and I believe that leads to better community conversations.

There have been good conversations going on at the local site for almost a year. Although some of the conversation did 'jump the shark' once efforts to slander certain individuals took hold.

I have even been impressed to some degree with RAID's website. There are many contributions there from the president on down the membership, water issues are covered, the 'opinion' page offers us a glimpse into RAID's take on issues (but hurry if you want to read those, I've noticed that articles tend to disappear), and even the feedback to RAID page is worth a hoot if you like reading the ramblings from the 'anonymous' (one of these submissions will be the focus today).

All in all though, it is good to see more folks coming together and at least be given the opportunity to see what others are talking about in regards to issues in the local community.

It also gives me the opportunity to get out the scissors and do some cutting and apply just the right amount of fisking when I find something that warrants it.

Lets take a look at what I found today shall we??

This one comes from the 'feedback to RAID' page on their website. Of course, like with ALL of the other feedback submissions... it was offered by someone who wished to remain anonymous. To be honest, there was one submission to the 'feedback' that did have a name attributed to it, but it has been removed. I heard that the particular (now missing) submission was sorta critical of RAID and I guess that is not allowed over there.

Anyway, strap yourselves in for this one. Might be a bumpy ride.

----- Original Message -----
FROM: Withheld by Request

Fraidy Cat, Fraidy Cat... I feel compelled to use 'Fraidy Cat' when responding to the following. I know I would be fearful of using my name if I wrote what Fraidy Cat wrote.

Hey Vestar, what part of the ballot measures not passing don't you understand? There will be no deal with the city. Not withstanding your reputation, the city (citizens) are not here to partner with you. If you want to start a business here, you're going to have to do it on your own dime just like everyone else. And that includes the interchange too.

Yeah folks, the above is real.

First of all Vestar was NOT on the ballot on November 6. But... the voters may have actually helped Vestar to some degree. I've covered that before, and even the KDM covered that this week.

The last bit in bold makes for a real interesting showdown if the contributor here is either in the RAID camp or the Good Old Boys camp.

Medcath says they are not dependant on the T.I. and they are on their own (investor) money to develop their (hospital) business. Nice try, Vestar, tring to force our hand by selling them 35 acres.

Sorry folks, I'm simply having a difficult time doing this because of all the laughter the above has caused.

And also... Fraidy Cat says 'screw you' if you need emergency services and live on the wrong side of the Interstate. This hospital plan was basically and evil ploy on behalf of the developers so nothing to see here, please move along.

Fraidy Cat would rather see people in need of emergency services suffer than the city of Kingman letting a developer front the money for needed infrastructure. Fraidy Cat comes across as a real meanie.

To the mayor and city council. What part of NO don't you understand? The city government is not a business to joint venture with a company. Where is your (AROC) license? If anyone approaches you about (sales tax) reimbursement to build, you have to turn them away.

Fraidy Cat... are you sure?? Somebody inform the communities Queen Creek and Gilbert here in Arizona. I didn't see either city on the AROC list of contractors and they both have reimbursement agreements with this particular developer.

This is hysterical. Never mind the state statutes or anything, only the AROC applies.

Our tax money is not to be given away. Having no primary property tax is enough incentive to develop and build. Are you going to adjust impact fees with Vestar? The people put you in office to represent the masses, not the special interests. Trying to circumvent the people by creating funding mechanisms including sales tax reimbursements and improvement districts won't fly.

The funny thing here is there is still more Kool-Aid for Fraidy Cat to drink. I'm not even kidding. I don't see the city creating funding mechanisms... I see the city (if it chooses to even investigate this opportunity to let someone else pay for infrastructure) copying what other communities have done, and have done so legally by state statutes.

Having the city residences (27,000) foot the bill is ridiculous. The only acceptable funding mechanism is for Vestar to use their own (investor) money.

Fraidy Cat... would this demand be the same for any and ALL parties that have an interest in a new interchange along the Interstate?? This is a serious question.

To the other developers / builders. What would happen if you tried for city reimbursement? The answer wouldn't be no but HELL NO.

Somebody get Fraidy Cat a new tinfoil hat.

And explain to me again how freezing the city property for several years benefit the citizens. Competition is good for business.

The voters, for all intents and purposes, just 'froze' out the resident owned property. Again, the irony is delicious. I wanted our property to be that competition, but RAID helped convince the voters to stand with Vestar to give them plenty of what they wanted.

In short, the city cannot partner with any business because of conflicts of interest. The council would have to recuse themselves on almost any P&Z or C.U.P. matter.

In a reimbursement agreement, the city does not give up its sovereignty to a private interest. There is no real partnership. The city simply agrees to allow the developer to front money for public infrastructure and agrees to pay the developer back over time out of sales tax dollars that are generated only at the developers project. AND only if the project is meeting the benchmarks and the criteria in the agreement. The developer still has a huge risk if the project does not perform in the way that the original 'feasibility' study shows.

Fraidy Cat, just what are you so afraid of anyway?? Kingman would not be the guinea pigs here, these agreements have happened before all over the state, and even in Mohave County.

It's real easy, Vestar. You're not going to make a ton of money on the backs of the citizens, You'll have to do it the old fashioned way, "you'll have to earn it."

I'll just let this one speak for itself.

Name withheld by request.

And that is probably for the best.

Friday, November 16, 2007

In my email today...

I received an email today from former Mayor Monica Gates informing the folks on her distribution list that she has decided to enter the upcoming election and run for Mayor.

I've had many friendly discussions about Kingman issues with Mrs. Gates and her husband over the years and I have the utmost respect for them, I find them to be good people. I wish her the best of luck in her efforts.

This is just an announcement, I am making no endorsements at this time. I voted for Mrs. Gates when she was elected in 2004 and when she failed in her re-election bid in 2006.

The only thing I will say at this time about Mrs. Gates, and I say this in full confidence... she is a lousy softball player. I'm fairly confident that she also has a good sense of humor and I know she won't take what I just said as any form of disparagement. A couple of years back I just happened to play on the same local recreational adult league softball team as her, and while I loved having her as a teammate, her skills on the softball diamond are not nearly on par with her skills as Mayor.

Again Monica... I do wish you good luck in your efforts.

Impact Fees

When my wife was visiting this week, we were in the vehicle together traveling on Stockton Hill and she noticed a new building going up near the Super Wal-Mart entrance and asked me if I knew what business was going in. I wasn't sure at the moment, for whatever reason, but I thought I had heard that is was going to be a new Panda Express Chinese food restaurant.

Turns out I was right and maybe the Kingman Daily Miner was reading my mind because in today's edition there is an article about it. The article was informative, but the following was the most interesting...

"The permit process went quite smoothly and efficiently," Pittman said.

The Panda Restaurant Group paid $32,381.91 to the city in fees, including what is commonly referred to as impact fees.

"The attractiveness of the city outweighed" the fees, Pittman said.

The company recognized the new growth in the area, Pittman said. Kingman has the core density they are looking for, he added.

"Even without future growth, we can be successful there," Pittman said, "but we're excited about future growth."

(emphasis mine)

First of all this wasn't shared to say development or 'impact' fees are a good or bad thing. I included it because as of right now the 'impact' fees are a revenue source for the city and it appears that business interests... successful business interests... are willing to pay those fees.

It has been said at recent city council meetings that these 'impact' fees are killing the economy in Kingman. I don't wholeheartedly agree.

There are 'impact' fees imposed on new commercial AND residential projects and the these fees are collected up front.

I'm finding out that our 'impact' fees are reasonable as compared to other communities in Arizona. Keep in mind that in Kingman the city does not collect property tax dollars on either commercial or residential property... and beyond state allocated funds, the only other normal revenue streams are sales tax dollars and these darned 'impact' fees.

I know that the local builders association was making an effort to delay the payment of 'impact' fees until the close of escrow or at the time the certification of occupancy was issued to help defer the added risk on the builder, as of right now I am not sure how that resolution is going. However it does go, we all know that in the end the end user is the one that actually pays the cost of those fees.

If I am first in line at Panda Express, some of the revenue they collect from my beef and broccoli order (however microscopic it may be) will go towards the development fee that Panda Express paid. Likewise, I know that the next time I buy a home in Kingman that I'll be paying back the builder for the residential development fees.

We've had recent discussions about living in an area of Kingman where an 'improvement district' is formed because the residents in that area want some kind of improvement (sidewalks and gutters, water lines, sewer lines, etc.), and together they all agree to pay back the cost of those improvements to the city. Usually in the form of an assessment that could be in the thousands of dollars. This has to be done because in the past there seemed to have been times when things like sidewalks and sewer lines were not required as part of the permitting, or if there were requirements -- they were waived for whatever reason.

Some folks in those improvement district do not realize that they may have a difficult time selling their home, if they had to for some reason, unless the assessment amount is paid off. Now it can be paid off from the proceeds at the close of escrow... but in our current market there is no guarantee that enough proceeds are collected so that the seller doesn't have to come out of pocket and pay the assessment themselves.

This is where I believe the 'impact' fees could benefit home buyers in the long run. First off, I'll bet that if the person that pulls the permit to build a residential property or commercial property and pays the 'impact' fee and once the property is finished in the construction stage it probably isn't likely that the a property owner at any time in the future will ever be in a situation where an improvement district would even need to be called for. Also, the cost of improving today will no doubt be less expensive than it would be sometime in the future. It also offers more uniformity in the overall area.

If you do drive through some side streets in Kingman you may find some streets with curbs and gutters but on the next block you won't find curbs and gutters. Some streets are paved, while one particular street is not. I've even seen some streets that are half paved (one lane is paved while the lane going the other direction is not). Homes are connected to sewer on this block, but not the next. The list goes on.

The development or 'impact' fees will prevent that from happening in the new growth areas.

We may not like paying the fees. The fees may have come as some kind of culture shock when they went into effect. We may all decide to work together to adjust the fees. But at this point I believe that these fees will provide needed benefits to the growth of the city.

And the new money, the new investment coming into the city appears to be willing to pay those fees.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Open Microphone...

Sometimes things happen so quickly around here that I don't have the time to write a blog post on a subject that others may want to comment on. So once in awhile I think I will have an 'open mic' post where you the reader can post your thoughts on a subject you think is worth talking about.

So... what is on your mind?? What do you want to talk about that MOCO isn't talking about?? Please share with everyone. Go for it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Developer still sees light...

To say the waters were muddy before the last local election would be an understatement.

There was some interesting quotes from this article in todays edition of the KDM (Kingman Daily Miner). I want to share a few things from the article...

"From our standpoint, not much has changed," spokesman Stuart Goodman of Goodman-Schwartz Public Affairs said Tuesday. "From our perspective, Kingman Crossing is still the ideal location for a major retail project that can benefit the Kingman community and the region as a whole."

From my standpoint, I agree. The whole community could and will benefit. Better public access, increased public safety, more sales tax dollars generated, among the many benefits.

"The vote last week requires more creative thinking on the funding mechanisms," Goodman said, "but the fundamentals of the project still remain the same as they were when we first closed on the land back in January of 2007."

I think creative thinking has been needed since the project was first talked about. To me the election didn't have much to do with the project at all.

The Vanderbilt-Vestar partnership has dedicated most of the talk about funding to a sales tax reimbursement: Vanderbilt would front the entire cost of the interchange, then, over the course of several years, receive a 100-percent reimbursement from a portion of sales taxes collected from a mall that Vestar plans to build on the north side of I-40.

You mean... just like other municipalities have done throughout Arizona and California?? Say it ain't so. I'd still love someone to point out the flaw in at least attempting discussions in this manner when other communities are using this kind of agreement to improve their situations. Why not us??

Although the expectation was that the election would be the next major step for the project, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of room for progress right now, as Council's retreat is still a month away and there have been no discussions lately on the one thing Vanderbilt and Vestar need to move forward: an economic impact study that outlines the feasibility of entering into a sales tax reimbursement agreement. These studies are a prerequisite for any such sales tax sharing agreement.

I think the 'expectation' thingy was flawed. I still don't see how this election was tied to the future of this particular development when there is well known and well used options that have been staring at us all since the beginning. Plus the fact that a new interchange was never part of the roads improvement part of the bonds on the ballot that failed. These developers didn't expect us all to pay for it as an add on to our property taxes.

I certainly hope the current council or the new council will call for this 'feasibility' study to be considered. The cost is lower for one of these studies than what Kingman contributed to the package to bring Chrysler to Mohave County to replace Ford at the proving grounds in Yucca. The rewards would also likely be much higher in terms of returns as well.

E-mail records released from the city revealed that Vanderbilt had proposed a several year "freeze" on the city's land to eliminate commercial competition with Vestar's shopping center planned at Kingman Crossing North. Since the city's request for authorization to sell the Kingman Crossing South land, and since the denial of a major amendment to the General Plan for that same land, Vanderbilt essentially received what it indicated it wanted in the e-mails.

The above is so precious, so delicious. If you've been following along here then you will know why I say that.

I see the next decision for Kingman in regards to our community owned property to be either;

1) try for another major amendment to the general plan for the land use designation of the property... to once again go for conditioning the property for highest and best use. However, with no bonds in place to improve the resident owned property, it is likely that the city will have to look to the developer to enter into a development agreement (if it checks out through the feasibility study and an agreement between the city and the developer can be reached) that pays back the developer for fronting the costs to improve not only their property, but ours as well.


2) let the developer improve their property on their own dime with no expectation to pay back the city, but in return (since there is no free lunch) guarantee the developer that Kingman will not sell the resident owned land for commercial use for some period of time (maybe 20 years or more).

If you think about it rationally, option #1 gives Kingman more options to play with from the first day because there would little doubt that our property (the 168 acres) would be getting conditioned for a higher value if it was ever decided by the voters to sell some or all of it, while the other option limits what Kingman could do with our best land asset for an agreed to period of time.

Great article and I'm so pleased to see the developers speaking to the actual issues. Sure beats hearing the 'crooks and scoundrels' routine at city council meetings.

Parting Shots from Councilman...

If you didn't see the article yesterday, it is worth reading for the quotes alone. Here is the link to that article.

Just going to share a few highlights...

One of Spear's major issues with the current mayor and Council is the way they handle various business entities.

"It's been a disappointment for me to see different entities and different people being treated differently; people aren't being treated the same," he said. "That's a policy shown by City Council's actions."

One of his prime examples of this is the situations with the proposed interchange projects at Kingman Crossing and Rattlesnake Wash off Interstate 40.

"We treat (Lee) Bruno and (Jay) Schritter differently than we do Vestar and that group," Spear said of the developers of Rattlesnake Wash and Kingman Crossing, respectively.

"We were going to have the funds from Kingman Crossing pay for Rattlesnake Wash," he said, wearing an astonished expression. "Rattlesnake Wash should pay for itself, as should Kingman Crossing."

Might be interesting to see how this is responded to by the public.

He said the players at Kingman Crossing have understood that they need to have a funding source to make the interchange project a reality, and they have considered three options: a sales tax reimbursement, a community facilities taxing district and bonds. "The developers at Rattlesnake Wash were told three years ago they needed a funding plan and they haven't (got one) yet."

While the good old boys may not have a funding source identified as of yet, we do know that their local political ally has already made a pitch to have all of us in Kingman pay for it.

Meanwhile the Kingman Crossing folks never asked to put a bond on any ballot to pay to improve their property. To be fair... the good old boys haven't either... yet. Luckily for them they have five more years to think it over.

Here is just one silly idea... approach the city with a development agreement and front the cost with the expectation to get paid back in full if all agreed to benchmarks are met.

Interstate 40 politics in Kingman is just getting revved up.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Great Divide...

I feel this community is seeing a greater divide and it is starting to be seen out in the open. Before I start laying blame on others for this, I will say that I am just as responsible for it as anyone else in the community. This post really isn't to cast blame though, I'm just commenting further on some points and counter points that have been brought up either in the Daily Miner or on other places in the community -- on line or otherwise.

Last Thursday in the Miner, a staff writer wrote a column that addressed some concerns for younger families living in Kingman and was written as a response to a post made by a RAID member.

Here is the link to that column again. Please click on that link and scroll to the bottom if you have already read the column as there are many comments submitted to the Miner on that column. Interesting comments I may add.

When I first read the column I knew that a response would be in the offing from RAID, and low and behold I found it. Now I have my scissors out and would like to make some of my own comments and responses as I doubt the Miner staff writer is going to get into a back and forth with the RAID member (I certainly don't think the writer is going to submit basically the same column with some smart ass retractions either as I'm sure that is below her abilities).

Response to Andraya Whitney
A new Powerhouse for Kingman
by Loyd D. Peterson, Sr.

Title, something like a declaration, and author. I'm skipping ahead to the actual response, over the review of his original response to yours truly that Andraya Whitney responded to.

Now, Andraya, please understand that I view the recent election results not as a setback but as a new and bright opportunity. With a responsive city council, Kingman can become a wonderful community for everyone.

Well of course RAID does not look at the election results as a setback, they won. They even went so far as having a scrolling banner (that is not up any more) on their website stating that all of RAID's positions won and all issues were defeated. I almost heard trumpets in the background.

And I'm not sure what the comment about a 'responsive city council' is either. I'm still quite certain that RAID is not going to get any council to approve an 80 acre retention pit on the Kingman resident owned property along with Kingman's very own version of Central Park anytime, as in ever.

Look at the positives! We have MedCath committed to Kingman mostly because they know this retiree boom is coming and a lot of it is coming to Kingman. Chrysler’s purchase of the Ford Test Facility will be bringing many high-paying jobs along with the MedCath contribution.

I am excited about the MedCath project as anyone else short of the board of directors at KRMC. As far as the car company deal goes though... remember everyone that this place is not in Kingman. There is no retail sales tax dollars generated there. There were jobs out there when Ford was the owner and operator and those jobs were torched. Now there will be jobs out there again when Chrysler opens up for operation. I wonder if it is a net add for jobs?? Enough at least to trumpet this as a huge success for Kingman??

Kingman isn’t dying at the hands of sunset-aged voters but instead they have set the stage to revive our local economy in a way the rest of the nation may well come to envy. Be patient. Nothing will move forward until the shake-out from the housing boom/bust settles, the sub-prime mortgage fiasco finds some reality and the housing glut is absorbed.

Oh I can't wait to hear how the retiree's that voted to kill all the issues on the ballot are going to save and improve Kingman... please expound on this in the coming days... I can't wait.

I will agree that there needs to be a 'shake-out' on the housing boom/bust as Mr. Peterson describes. I know of one way to help with the housing glut... get working people to move here instead of moving out of here. So far though, I've seen RAID stand in lock step with fiery critics of developers that could bring more amenities to Kingman and stand together to keep a developer out of the area that had planned for a large marketing effort to draw interest to the Kingman and Mohave County area. RAID stands idly by as the terms 'crooks and scoundrels' get tossed around at will towards the folks that could actually move people from all walks of life into the area to help with our own little housing glut. Supply and demand. RAID, I believe is creating more supply while defeating the needed demand. But that is just me.

80 acre retention pits will not solve the demand part of the equation.

Recently, I wanted curbs, gutters and sidewalks in front of my home. Neighbors agreed and they joined with me and soon we had an improvement district. The improvements went in, I shelled out my nearly $13,000 share and it was done. The developers that own property at and around proposed interchanges are going to have to do the same thing. The improvements directly enhance their properties on a day after day basis and they are the ones that should pay for it. It is not the city’s responsibility to put in an interchange and it wasn’t the city’s responsibility to put curbs and sidewalks in front of my home.

Mr. Peterson, wow, I hope you win the day at the next RAID meeting because already we have seen that another member of your group has proposed spending public money to enhance properties of other certain developers for an interchange along I40. Sending mixed messages is nothing new for RAID, I've pointed out the other hypocrisy's from RAID plenty of times.

Andraya, you cite all the marvelous shopping that Sun City and Sun City West enjoy. Do you think they built all that marvelous shopping first, then the retirees came? Absolutely not! What did Del Webb do? He built (or had built) a huge hospital at the entrance to Sun City as the “eye catch” for prospective home buyers (sound familiar, like maybe MedCath?). All that marvelous shopping you refer to was built “AFTER” the retirees started buying homes at a clip of 100 PER DAY – – – I watched it.

Umm... hello... Kingman already enjoys a nice large hospital at the moment. As I've said before, I am excited about the prospect of another one as well.

And just what is this 'eye catch' going to do for people that live within a long tee-shot and a five iron from the new location of the hospital, but can't get there in a timely fashion because there is hardly any real access for those folks that currently live on the southeast side of town?? Yeah, I'm talking about an interchange that make a ton of sense that would connect that part of town to the new location of this 'eye catch' you speak of. The interchange that RAID has been against since day one. The new hospital is only part of the solution if RAID is being honest.

You describe my vision for Kingman as a “backwards thinking little utopia”. Shame on you. Kingman has always been a vibrant and constantly growing community. We have survived mine shutdowns, steel mill shutdowns, tourist slowdowns, cattle industry downturns, big box stores slamming of small hometown merchants and more ups and downs in lockstep with the national economy than you can even dream of. We’re still here and doing fine.

I won't argue, you've been here longer than I have. Hey everyone, we are doing fine, eat your cake. Many of us know the huge potential the area has. Let us not forget that RAID told us all to wait at least a year instead of working towards fulfilling that potential.

We will emerge from this choke-hold that others (and I mean the speculators) have imposed on this city, and we will continue. I know you are young and struggling just as I once was – but that’s called life. That journey is never anything more than a set of choices and the principles apply to me, to you, to this city and to everyone. Make the right choices and you wind up pleased, make the wrong choices and despair is your future – but the choice is yours. The voters have applied that choice to their city – that’s called democracy.

Let's face it, the retired voters spoke and told us all that things are just hunky-dory. If there is despair in the future for this town we can thank those voters.

I doubt that anyone who voted yes on the ballot thought they were doing it to enhance their personal lives. Those of us that did were likely doing so because we thought that now was a great time to invest and improve the city. We also wanted to correctly manage the Kingman resident owned land asset to condition the property for highest and best use... meaning someday getting the best value in return to avoid other taxes and the like for other future improvements. We wanted new neighborhood parks, better public safety assets, road improvements, and neighborhood convenience. I'm not speaking for those that did not vote in the last election, just for those that lost on the issues on election day.

You do not have to convince me that there must be a constant infusion of capital to build the infrastructure that we need and with specific and well described projects with single-shot guarantees, I believe this city will step forward, as it has so many times in the past, and support bite-sized fixes to this city’s problems. It’s pretty obvious that the voters gagged on the city council’s bond proposals.

I'm already gagging on the first proposal that RAID has made publicly for a future bond proposal, especially in light of things that you yourself have said. RAID certainly has a funny way of accepting infusion of capital to build infrastructure that is needed.

Finally, in closing Andraya, the biggest threat to Kingman’s long-term future is “WATER”. It is a big and complicated issue that will move to the front burner in the near future. If the citizens of Kingman don’t start requiring the Mayor and city council to start working on this thorny issue, then Kingman will become a sand-covered ghost town and I will guarantee that your great-grandchildren won’t be living here, or anyone else.

Water is a statewide political game. One of the only things I could see the local leadership actually have a positive affect on in the water game is to extend the water district of Kingman and begin a real drive to annex more land into the city limits. The more a municipality like ours can control the better when the state comes knocking on our door with their big straw they wish to put in the ground in Mohave County to transport the precious water back to the Phoenix area.

I realize the dialogue may sound harsh at times moving forward. The key though is to continue the discussion. As of right now I'm not on board with much of what RAID has to say but I know that could change in the coming weeks, months, or even years. Meanwhile I will be monitoring what groups like theirs say and adding my own comments. Please feel free to add yours as well, even if you disagree with me.

I'm putting away my scissors for today, but they remain within reach. See you next time.

Monday, November 12, 2007

A look back at the recent election...

Yep... I still want to talk about the local election that took place last week. Not the one that you are most likely thinking of though.

Sure, I could share my feelings as to why voters of Kingman would defeat a measure that leaves our best land asset darn near worthless in real terms, but as we found out strict loyalty to a general plan won the day for some backward thinking reason.

So instead I'm going to share a recent election where a community made a decision to enter into a development agreement to provide costs for needed infrastructure in exchange for a repayment of those costs back to the developer over time.

Now I don't know all the details of the agreement that the city of Gilbert entered into, and I'm sure the 'devil' is in those details. And wouldn't you know, you won't have to look far to see that indeed the Devil was in the details... well the Devil incarnate to many folks in our local community and at least how they seem to think it appears.

Please keep in mind that in our own local elections last week, Satan himself was not on the ballot in any way shape or form. The fine voters of Kingman could not accept Satan into the community or cast him out... but at times the rhetoric that came from the Daily Miner, the good old boys, and RAID caused many to think differently.

Take a moment and read the publicity pamphlet that the city of Gilbert produced and pay attention to their Proposition 400.

Also notice that the proposition was passed by the voters 68.8% to 31.2%. You will also see a street bond improvement issue (worth $174 million dollars) was also approved by similar numbers. To me, the city of Gilbert voters have said they accept growth and are looking to grow further and were willing to do something more about it other than waiting a year or more as the solution.

For the last year or so since the talk about a certain developer wanting to bring to Kingman a new retail commercial center began, we have heard that the only thing the developer wants to do is screw Kingman into the ground. Yet at the same time we are seeing growing communities enter into agreements that voters believe will bring the community more benefits than liabilities.

In Kingman we are being told NOT to have talks with certain developers, yet already we are hearing from those same people that Kingman should pass public funding to improve and enhance property for other developers for a project that won't be complete for another 7 years. Hypocrisy anyone??

It appears that Gilbert was asking for better access routes and an easing of traffic snarls, and the developer offered to pay for that up front in return for repayment at a later time. The voters of Gilbert seem to think they are entering into a win-win situation.

Certain interests in Kingman will emphatically stand in the way of a similar solution being reached here locally.

These development agreements are happening all over the state, they are even happening in Mohave County. When will they benefit us here in Kingman??

Here is more information and opinions to share on the issues election in Gilbert...

Proposition 400

Likely mistaken for a sales-tax incentives package, the deal between Gilbert and Vestar Development Co. is anything but a developer giveaway, which could explain why the group that's challenging this deal has been virtually silent during the campaign.

The truth is, Gilbert would reimburse $9.7 million to Vestar for improving streets for Greer Towne Center, which is planned for the southwestern corner of Riggs and Higley roads. Allowing this deal to move forward would put much needed infrastructure in place far sooner than the town could do so and, given rising construction costs, at a far lower price.

Opponents argued that the council did not give the public ample time to comment before casting its vote. Now, the public has had more than enough time to realize that voting yes on Prop. 400 would be in the best financial interests of taxpayers.


Prop. 400 is a Win, Win, Win for Gilbert

Let me see if I have this right…Vestar, the developer of numerous quality projects in our communities, is going to spot the Town of Gilbert a $9.7 million loan to build out both sides of the streets surrounding its Greer Towne Center project at Higley and Riggs roads five years ahead of the town's schedule.

Gilbert will only have to repay the principal (no interest or carrying costs), repayment will be from revenue generated from the development itself, and the developer is willing to wait for 15 to 20 years for repayment of the principal. And - if the developer does not meet the agreed upon benchmarks - the loan is forgiven and the town does not have to repay the principle.

Where's the catch? There is no catch in this development agreement. Vestar just does not want future street construction to threaten the economic viability of its retail center and small businesses, and is willing to pay to avoid it. By bringing a mega-retail center into an underserved area of southern Gilbert two-years ahead of schedule, Vestar will save our taxpayers $5.4 million while generating well over $35 million in new sales taxes and other revenue for vital services in our growing town over the next several years.

There are no incentives or tax dollar giveaways in this development agreement; only a reimbursement for road improvement expenses the town was anticipating to incur years from now. This is a win, win, win for the citizens of Gilbert, the Town of Gilbert and the developer.

Hey now.

Wouldn't it be nice to bring this kind of mentality to little old Kingman??

I hope you all vote to do just that in the next election.

October Sales Report (2007)

When I first started tracking sales data, I did so only so that I could know which direction the market was headed and how best to express the facts to my clients. I started MOCO Real and thought it would be beneficial to share the findings of the sales data with the readers here... even if they had no intention of becoming a client of mine. I never thought of using the data I collect for political purposes or to make a point about local policies and such.

This data should still speak to the potential buyer and potential seller in the Kingman area first and foremost. However, the data should probably speak to something else -- the direction this fair city is moving. Who is going to buy the property that is for sale?? How will the potential buyers pay the price the sellers are asking?? What can be done about the overall demand in the market??

So maybe you are seeing this data for the first time as a reader at MOCO Real. Maybe you aren't thinking of buying or selling now or even later on in the future. Still, how does this data affect you and what are you willing to do about it??

Before I proceed... the disclaimer...

Disclaimer... all data compiled for this report comes from the WARDEX Data Exchange and does not include any sales activity from outside that resource. All research is done only on single family homes and there is no inclusion of modular homes, commercial properties, or vacant land. The geographical area researched includes; all areas within the boundaries of the city of Kingman, north Kingman, the Hualapai Mountain area, and the Valle Vista subdivisions. Click here to see maps of the included area's.

Listings and sales in units chart:

Once again the gap remains greatly divided between sellers and buyers. Of course as a Realtor I want you to consider me as a someone to hire if you want to sell your home in the Kingman area, but you do need to realize that you have all kinds of competition for a declining number of buyers that are ready, willing, and able to buy property. How motivated are you right now to sell??

Average listings and sales averages chart:

As I mentioned at the beginning of the month we saw typically more than the normal amount of higher priced listings hit the market. I believe that skewed the listing average price up quite a bit and I wouldn't be surprised to see the number fall back again. The key data on this chart though is the red line. The red line has moved up and down quite a bit since the summer months but keep in mind that the overall number of units sold has been very low and easy to skew as compared to the blue line.

The red lines speaks to buyers, the blue line speaks to 'wishers'.

2004 through 2007 unit sales chart:

2004 through 2007 average price chart:

Average prices in 2007 have paced those from 2006, yet unit sales in 2007 are lagging a poor 2006.

Are people really moving here?? Maybe somebody smarter than me can tell my why if the answer is yes.

2004 through 2007 median price chart:

Average SFR statistics:

The average home sold in October had 3.03 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a 2.03 car garage, included 1,625 square feet of living space, and was built in 1993. The average hold sold for an average of $121 per square foot of living space.

It took an average of 129 days of marketing to attract a buyer to come to an agreement and a total of 164 days from the first day of marketing to the close of escrow.

Sellers reduced price $14,557 to attract a buyer on average from the first day of marketing, and conceded another $10,786 to the buyer in the transaction. The total average price concession for the homes sold in October was $25,343. That marks the largest total dollar amount conceded by sellers to buyers since I started tracking the data as you will see on the next chart.

Bonus Charts:

Sellers... it is not pretty, is it??

Price per square foot of living space is falling now consistently. Buyers are winning.

I promise more charts next month so please stop on by.