Thursday, January 31, 2008

What about you??

So far in the campaign, all of the candidates (including me) have been talking about city funding. As in either how to create more money for the city or such things as tightening the proverbial belts to reduce spending. All of the conversation is interesting enough and you are free to make up your own minds on who would do the best thing along those lines.

Today I'm talking about the Kingman resident.

Have we really looked around recently?? Are we listening to what is happening??

I hear more about good people getting laid off from their jobs, I see places of business going under and closing, and none of it feels good.

I realize that Kingman and most of Arizona is beholden to housing, construction, development, and investment markets and right now the market stinks for all of the above.

Yet at this very same moment there are many interests that seem to be willing to infuse local and growing markets with real capital. Often we hear that it "takes money to make money" and well yes it does. So why is half of this community bent on interfering with the interests that want to bring their money here?? Who here locally is proposing large scale projects that have the ability to create opportunities for anyone motivated enough to capitalize??

I know of one major project that could qualify, but the locals involved have made it clear that they are willing to wait another five or so years in order to have the taxpayer of Arizona pay for most, if not all, of the project before any infusion of capital takes place.

Do you think that the folks getting laid off or the business owners under financial pressure can afford to wait around that much longer before things get better?? I say the answer is no. This local economy is deteriorating right now when it doesn't necessarily have to.

I hear people talk about the housing market locally all the time and many say that the home prices are way too high for what the typical Kingman resident makes income wise. This may very well be true and I'm not trying to argue on the side of higher home prices, that market needs to take care of itself. However, I have some data that shows the household median income for residents in Mohave County in the year 2000 was just a bit over $28,000. That number jumped up to $34,000 by the end of 2006. The main reason for this was the influx of money coming into the economy. Investors, developers, contractors... local or otherwise were contributing and the community was benefiting... the residents were benefiting.

In the last year though we saw in public efforts to defeat more infusion of capital in the area. Today we are seeing out of business signs and good people getting laid off. That is hardly a coincidence.

Do you want to have MORE opportunities next year?? The solution is simple really. It is time to reach out to those that have an interest to invest in our community. It is time to have an open conversation to see if there is a solution that could work towards yielding benefits to the Kingman resident. Can or will these interests with capital create jobs, create new business opportunity, and/or promote further infusion of capital from other sources that may have been on the fence about investing in Kingman?? If the answer is yes, we must make the right decision and move forward.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

See it for yourself...

I wrote about the Saturday night Mayor's forum on Sunday. Yesterday we all read the article in the paper.

Now we can all see it for ourselves. Here is the video of Mayoral Candidate Bill Nugent. The video only includes Bill talking so you won't see the other candidates speak.

I'm sharing this here but I am not making endorsements, implied, expressed, or otherwise. The whole town seems to be buzzing about some of the comments from Saturday night so here is a chance for anyone who couldn't make it to the forum to see and hear what was said.

I found the video at enjoy.

To be fair, if the other Mayoral candidates have video that included their presentations I will post those videos here as well. Send me a link.

I love it!!

I don't know if reincarnation is real or not... but by the off chance that it is... this is what I want to be recreated as... a big ol' Great White.

There is a whole series of photo's like this linked here.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Article covering Mayoral Forum on Saturday night...

Plenty of good information included and I believe the article captures the event really well.

Here is the link.

Here are a couple of highlights...

From the applause, laughter and numerous times the crowd said "amen" after his statements, Nugent hit on some pertinent topics with his straight talk about cutting costs and eliminating development impact fees.

He said the problems in city hall started when a former reporter for the Miner "destroyed" the campaigns of Jim Baker and Monica Gates in 2006.

This marked the beginning of the negativity that has carried through the past two years, he said, and it's the reason the Council at the time didn't put off implementing impact fees, which have divided the community since their implementation.


Naming Mayor Les Byram, Vice Mayor Dave French and Councilman Tom Carter, Nugent said he couldn't get the Kingman Crossing plans off their desks. In general, he said, they wouldn't make a move unless it was politically correct.

"Then you have the group going around, the Rancho Santa Fe group - Shorts, Schritter, Bruno - doing nothing but destroying anything that comes up in this community that doesn't fit their agenda," Nugent said.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The 60 Minutes Piece

Here is a link to an initial reaction to the report that played tonight.

Mayors race is getting heated up...

I attended the forum last night for the hopefuls for Kingman's next Mayor, hosted by the Praise Chapel.

First off, great event hosted by Pastor Pennington. Beautiful setting that accommodated the largest audience to date in the current election cycle. I was really grateful for the impeccable audio system that allowed me to actually hear 100% of the content that was offered by the candidates. The format was also top notch, with only three candidates up on stage I thought that each had a chance to fully articulate on the issues and questions that were offered.

Each candidate was graceful towards each other and the tone of this election so far has had that feel even among candidates for Council. This really is an issues election, it's business... not personal.

However, one candidate last night did make some very provocative statements... and drew a big round of applause when he was finished. The reactions to what was said will no doubt be interesting in the coming days. Clearly, a line was drawn in the sand.

Unfortunately, I do not have a transcript or access to another means of recording of the event so I will not attempt to quote or even paraphrase what was said by any particular candidate last night. I will link to any article that may appear that might have those statements when they are available.

I will say that I do agree that much of what was said was needed to be said... finally.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Housing report on front page...

The KDM ran an article about the housing market in today's edition.

See it here.

See more here.

For Mr. Royster (the KDM writer), I'm truly sorry that there isn't a better source of this kind of local information about the market... but... I'm glad I could help at least offer you the data I share.

By the way, thanks, you did a fine job with the article.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

More Kingman Crossing...

Excerpt taken from a memo sent to the Mayor, Council, City Manager, and Candidates for city office...

As part of the Design Concept Report (DCR) process, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) must approve a change of access report for I-40 that shows that the interchange will not have a negative impact on the Interstate. This generally requires that a new traffic interchange connect to the local arterial street network on both sides of the freeway.

With the failure of the city property ballot issues, and the lack of a plan for the development of the state section, FHWA has preliminarily indicated that an interim solution of a "one-sided" traffic interchange could be acceptable. This alternative would require that the traffic interchange connect to Santa Rosa Blvd, north of the freeway immediately, and ultimately further north to Airway Avenue. On the south side of the freeway no arterial connection would immediately be provided. Ultimately, a connection would have to be provided to Louise Avenue. This connection would happen when the city property and/or state section develop. This scenario would require a second change of access report before the southern connection could be opened to traffic. A final determination from FHWA will not happen until they sign off on the DCR and change of access report showing the interim one-sided interchange. With the current schedule, that should be in April/May of 2008.

So I ask you... how does an interchange that only takes traffic to the north side of the Interstate change the discussion??

Let's see some discussion.

By the way... The developers on the north side will be at the special meeting or work shop before tonights City Council meeting. The fun begins at 4:30pm.


If you remember, last month at the Kingman Republican Mens Club meeting I was invited to speak before the members. There were three other candidates that did also. I attended yesterday's meeting because I was interested to hear another three Council candidates speak on the issues.

When it came time for questions all of the Council candidates were called up to take part. It wasn't something that I expected but was glad for the opportunity. I even think that I heard enough from another candidate that would likely earn my vote.

I spent the weekend catching up on some household chores, particularly dealing with thorny rose bushes. The weather was just nice enough and all work was completed in time on Sunday to watch the NFL football action. As an Eagles fan, I hate both teams that will play in the Superbowl for different reasons. Right now for some reason, I feel that the Giants are going to pull that game out... and it pains me to say it.

I've been working on a different website for the campaign and should be able to link to it by the end of the week.

Don't forget that I have a non scientific survey on the sidebar that anyone can participate in. I'm curious about who the readers here are thinking of supporting for Mayor. Please feel free to take part.

Also in just a little while I will be interviewed at the Kingman Daily Miner in front of their editorial board. I'm interested to see who the KDM readers are that were chosen to sit in and participate.

See you in awhile...


I was merely a week early for the interview at the KDM. Stupid computer calendar program that I entered the wrong information in. Oh well, at least I wasn't a week late.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Interesting look at construction at Hoover Dam

I just saw this video at YouTube on the Hoover Dam Bypass project and wanted to share (hat tip to Justin Chambers for finding this).

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A few notes about the campaign...

Yesterday I did my first sit down interview for the local TV cable channel 77. I have satellite TV service so I won't be able to watch the show on the tube myself, but hopefully you will have a chance. Look for it in the next week or two. I will be attaining a copy of the interview and I will attempt to put it up on youtube and then link it here so you can all see the big dufus that I probably am (... yeah, I'm being a little self critical here).

The show is interview style and runs for a half-hour. We did two 12 minute segments, or thereabouts, and I was really surprised how fast each segment went along.

Also, last night another candidate forum was held by the CIVIC organization and the event was held at the high school auditorium. All of the candidates were up on a stage with an orchestra pit off the stage area. There was a safety net in that gap area. I realized the opportunity for embarrassment and noticed that one of my shoes became untied... but managed to avoid any pratfall during the forum.

It was great to see some new faces last night, but I was a little disappointed that there wasn't a better turn out when, after all, it was held in a large comfortable room and there was no $10 charge to get in the door.

Even though I was seated basically right behind the podium where all the candidates spoke from, into a microphone, I was not able to hear most of what the other candidates were speaking on (I gotta break down and get those hearing aids). At times it was difficult for me to gauge how the audience was reacting to what the other candidates were saying. I could see some audience members straining to hear some of the candidates.

After answering one question about the vision I have for Kingman in the year 2015, I was asked a follow up question about the estimated population of Kingman by then and I answered 50,000... and I really meant to say 150,000. Sometimes the mouth and the brain are coy with each other, it is not nearly as bad as it used to be though.

The questions were different and creative. I especially liked the one I just alluded to... how do we see the situation in Kingman eight or so years down the road. I think about the future all the time and I envision opportunity to grow and expand my own business in that time frame and I want nothing more than to do that right here in Kingman. Of course with only two minutes to answer, up on a stage, in front of a diversely interested audience... I found that I couldn't articulate everything I wanted to. That gives me an idea for a blog post though, one where I will expand on my vision. Stay tuned.

I know that a frequent commenter, Ken, had already posted some feedback on the post from yesterday... but I wouldn't mind seeing some more thoughts from anyone else that was there. How'd I do?? How did the other candidates do?? Who is making the most sense?? That kind of thing. So if you have a moment, please leave a comment or two.

The last bit of information about my campaign is that I filed my paperwork for my committee, which means I can raise campaign funds to help fund the campaign. If you are interested in perhaps making a donation, please email me at I can accept up to $390 from an individual but would be honored to accept whatever you could contribute.

I'll be putting up campaign signs and running ads for my candidacy with that money. Maybe even a mailer or two. If you want to help me spread the word please consider making a contribution. We are all in this together to move Kingman forward.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

2007 Listing and Sales Activity Wrap-Up...

"Full disclosure."

You might hear that terminology from time to time. For me, that term goes nicely with the 2007 year end listing and sales report that I'm about to share.

For the last year and a half... I have been reading, hearing, and seeing people talk about the real estate market and of Realtors... most of what I'm privy to is not complimentary. Depending on who you believe, Realtors were the cause of the the deflating housing market. Realtors got the whole country into 'this' mess. Realtors lie and are willing to say anything, by any means necessary, to ensure that when a home sells -- a 6% commission of the sale flows into the greedy pockets of agents and brokers everywhere. Bottom line, Realtors will say anything to paint a rosy picture of what is happening in the market... well... that is what the critics offer.

Hmm... I'm willing to bet that this year end report flies in the face of the critics. I am a Realtor and I have been offering data on a consistent basis... raw data... no frills data... it is what it is. Most of it has not been pretty... all of it has been honest... and yes I'd love to sell a few more units a year to line my greedy pockets with funds from negotiated agreements I have with my clients.

But I see the data and know what I'm in for as a professional in this industry and when you see the following charts... you should be able to come to the same kind of conclusion that I have.

But first... 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.

Where oh, where should I begin?? Listings or sales?? Alright... listings it is...

2007 Listing Activity Report:

In total, there were 1,563 listings that hit the market as reported by WARDEX in my research area. Folks, when I was telling you all year long that sellers were outnumbering buyers by a wide margin I had no idea how this chart would look like when all was said and done for 2007. As you can see of the 1,563 listings taken last year, only 22% (or 340 units) successfully attracted a buyer and transferred ownership.

If you want to equate that to baseball terms... batting .220 in the major leagues usually means sitting on the bench or getting shipped back to the minor leagues. Our market certainly was not a rising star in 2007... it was merely a bench player or minor leaguer at best.

35% of the listings taken last year are still on the market. 38% of the sellers that tried their hand in the real estate sales market either quit (withdrawn listings) or let the listing period lapse (expired listings) and saw no positive results. If you factor in the 2% of sellers that have at least 'temporarily' pulled their listing from the active market you will see a total of 40% of the sellers probably learned that the competition was too stiff last year.

If we removed the withdrawn, expired, and temporarily off the market listings from the data, then we would see that 41% of the listings taken in 2007 have achieved success. Folks those are all-star numbers if we are using a baseball analogy. In fact Hall of Fame numbers. This was not reality though... just wishful thinking.

Quite simply the listing market was extremely bloated in 2007. Lot's of choices for buyers, plenty of opportunity to simply wait for the best deal... and all the while sellers were slow to react... well at least 40% of them were.

For the hopeful sellers in 2008, you should definitely get an in depth market report before you put your home on the market. You must understand the competition that you will face and be prepared to price your home to the current market. Gone are the days when your home will sell for more than your neighbors did 6 months ago... even though your home is much nicer and has all the upgrades, bells, and whistles. Gone are those days until some balance comes back to the market. Sellers can affect the balance in the market and it is all in the numbers.

2007 Sales Activity Report:

See a trend in the charts above?? Sales in units were off a whopping 37% from the previous year. The total dollar volume of business was off even more... down 40% (est.).

That is nothing as compared to how far the market has fallen compared to 2005 (59% in units sold and 52% in dollar volume). We have been told that 2005 was the best year ever for real estate sales and when you have the all time best in anything, often what follows a command performance is a lack luster effort. I'm sure there is some 'spin' out there that will say that 2007 was in the top ten performing years of all time... but home sellers and real estate professionals won't be impressed.

So how did the average sales stack up against previous years?? I'm glad you asked...

What?? Down only 1.9%?? If you were one of the lucky sellers this last year you probably made it out without too many scratches or other types of flesh wounds... especially if you bought the home originally before 2006.

Now I'm not too familiar with a failing market, but I'm guessing this kind of data above lags the data in the other two charts by a year or so. Maybe I'm wrong, I'm just basing that on how this data lagged when the market was going the other direction.

How far will prices drop?? Where will it stop?? Dudes and dudette's... I do not have those kinds of mental powers to make that kind of determination. There is a new movie coming out (or is out... we don't have a movie theater in Kingman at the moment) called 'There Will Be Blood" and while the movie looks good (I'm sure I'll see it when it comes out on dvd), the title may be a little harsh for the upcoming market but many may think it will feel like that.

If you are thinking of selling in 2008, make sure you get all the data you can get your hands on before placing a sign in the front yard. Marketing your home in a quick fashion should be the goal and appealing to buyers, for the time being, will mean a price tag that screams 'GREAT DEAL' today... but keep in mind that it may not scream that in 30 to 60 days.

There will be many tough choices to make in 2008... the easiest of the toughest choices may be to not sell your home. I hope and pray that you don't find yourself in a situation where this option isn't available.

Looking back, it appears we are at least 24 months into this 'slide' down in the market. If some sense of balance can be achieved this year between buyers and sellers then I believe we would be making progress towards recovery.

Of course there are other factors at play here, but I'm only focusing on the local market. The sub-prime meltdown, the banking and credit fiasco, and the government intervention are things that none of us have control of. Sorting that stuff out is for someone else.

If we see a better sense of balance between the number of buyers and sellers in 2008, then this report next year will be plenty easier to write. Be sure to check back throughout the year for the monthly updates. Good luck and fortune to all.

Don't forget tonight...

There is another public forum event for candidates running for city offices tonight at the Kingman High School north campus on Bank St. The event begins at 6:30pm, there are plenty of seats at this facility and it would be great to see at least half the place filled.

Come out and hear the candidates.

Come out and support me.

More about the event here.

Friday, January 11, 2008

General Plan and local politics...

As I said before... I intend to use this blog to help communicate to voters where I stand on the issues... AND how I view the issues differently than perhaps some or all of the candidates for city council. In this post I will be disagreeing with another candidate on an issue he spoke about at the Mohave Republican Forum last Tuesday night.

Before I begin... I know that I sometimes write these posts with a flair of sarcasm, and to some degree, the intention of humor. I realize that humor is judged by the reader individually and not by the writer. So when I do these kinds of posts... perhaps disagreeing with a fellow candidate... I will do my very best not to include the usual sarcasm and will maintain a healthy level of respect towards the candidates.

In fact, I am feeling a sort of kinship with the other candidates at this time. I think that it is wonderful that the 13 of us (originally) that qualified for the ballot stepped up at this time to, hopefully, rally the community and ultimately move Kingman in a positive direction. Kingman voters will have to make tough choices on March 11th.

I am going to copy and paste some quotes from this article that covered the Forum event on Tuesday night. The quotes are attributed to Harley Pettit and I'm sure most of you know that he is a founding member of RAID but apparently had to resign from that group once he announced his intention to seek office. You also know that I have disagreed with RAID on numerous occasions on numerous issues for the last year or so. I am not singling out Mr. Pettit because of his affiliation with RAID though, I'm doing this because I disagree with him on a very important issue... an issue that I think has become very blurred in this community.

From the article...

Former Residents Against Irresponsible Development member Harley Pettit's opinions have been in the community for months now: he prefers Rattlesnake Wash. For one, residents voted on it in the General Plan. Secondly, Kingman Crossing, he believes, would take sales tax revenues away from existing businesses in Kingman.

"I think the Nov. 6 ballot spoke loud and clear on the Kingman Crossing being funded by the city," he said, referring to the 60 percent majority of voters opposing two Crossing measures.

"Rattlesnake Wash has a plan and a purpose, and he have maps on that," he said.

Settle in and grab your favorite drink (one with caffeine in it, cause this may take awhile)...

Preferring Rattlesnake Wash is fine with me (I prefer both proposed interchanges), but I don't think the rationale he delivered works for the community.

Mr. Pettit alludes to the General Plan and says that voters of Kingman voted for approving the plan, in part, because it had the Rattlesnake Wash interchange on the map... and obviously not the Kingman Crossing. The General Plan is a long document with many things included, it is way more than a land use designation map. I'll be responding to the General Plan stuff a bit later (because of length) and for now will respond to the other comments first.

Sales tax migration:

The other point Mr. Pettit brings up above is how sales tax dollars could be diverted away from other existing commercial businesses in Kingman, assuming in the event that Kingman enters into a development/reimbursement agreement with a developer that would front the cost of infrastructure improvements and later be reimbursed over time. I could very well agree that this could be an issue... only if the population of this area was to remain static for many years. Will our population remain static?? Here in the southwestern part of the United States?? In one of the fastest growing states in the country?? In one of the fastest growing county's in the nation?? Folks... before you answer...

The issue that he bring up stems from what I perceive to be a misinterpretation of how development and public/private reimbursement agreements work in the state of Arizona. It is impossible to make the kind of determination that Mr. Pettit has until a private entity and a municipality agree to have a feasibility study done to determine the affects a reimbursement agreement will have on the community. Until that study is ordered, completed, and studied (by the public)... none of us can really make a clear determination about whether or not a reimbursement agreement would be a worthy path to take to improve infrastructure needs within our community.

Nobody should assume anything at this point. The 'investment' into a feasibility study is rather low (much less than what Kingman gave to the Chrysler corporation to 'incentivize' them to move their testing operations to the Yucca area), especially as compared to what could be a significant increase over time to the collection of sales tax dollars in Kingman... as Kingman grows. And just what if the feasibility study shows no increase in tax dollars or harm to the revenues for the reasons Mr. Pettit stated?? That is easy... don't enter into a development/reimbursement agreement.

November 6 local issues election:

Did the voters of Kingman have a chance to cast their vote about development/reimbursement agreements, or the proposed interchange itself, or the development on the north side of Kingman Crossing last November the 6th?? The answer simply is no.

Proposition 301 was the only issue that I would consider to be closely related to the remarks that Mr. Pettit offered. Prop 301 only dealt with the land use designation on the Kingman resident owned property on the south side of the Interstate at Kingman Crossing. But yes, 60% of the voters voted to hold the current land use designation in place and bypassed a chance to increase the value of our own property. Something that I bet all those voters would not have voted to do if they individually owned those 168 acres of prime real estate.

I remember well the organized effort by RAID to defeat the proposition on the ballot. I know that members of that organization really believed in what they were doing... and I don't hold anything against them... I still simply disagree with their lack of intention to do something positive with the very best land asset that Kingman will likely ever have.

Rattlesnake Wash:

The proposed interchange at Rattlesnake Wash most assuredly has a plan and a purpose, as Mr. Pettit alludes to in the above quote. And yes, there are maps that have the proposed interchange on them.

What many people may not know is that developers and land owners on the south side of the Interstate near Rattlesnake Wash and the city entered into one of those development agreements some time ago. While that agreement does NOT have a reimbursement element included back to the developers, it certainly is the kind of agreement that benefits the City of Kingman AND those landowners and developers. I'll offer more details about this existing development agreement in a future blog post, but yes Mr. Pettit is right... there is a strong purpose for the Rattlesnake Wash interchange project... including (but not limited to) profiting many millions of dollars for private interests due in large part to public funding.

The General Plan stuff:

Let's jump in the 'way back' machine and head back in time to the date of May 18th, 2004. Do you remember what you were doing that day?? Well while you were doing whatever it was you were doing, there were 2,262 of us voters here in Kingman that voted to approve the General Plan. That number represented just short of 75% of the voters that bothered to show up to cast their vote on what has become such a huge and important document that has become just short of being worshiped by some people here in the community.

On that particular election day voters were asked to decide on a Mayor, one City Council seat, the Home Rule Option, and the aforementioned General Plan. There were 13,134 registered and eligible voters that day and; 3,970 voters cast a vote for their choice for Mayor, 3,761 votes were cast to decide who would sit on the City Council, 3,724 folks chimed in on the Home Rule Option, and the General Plan only appealed to 3,538. See the results for yourselves here.

You may draw your own conclusions, but when I see that 1 out of every 10 voters that decided who would be the Mayor -- but didn't bother to vote either way on approving the General Plan or not -- I'm guessing the issue wasn't clear or even important to voters one way or another.

To give you some idea, here is a link to the city website that has the entire General Plan... that the voters voted on. Now if you decide to wade through that long document -- your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to find exactly where the voters of Kingman approved the Rattlesnake Wash interchange project... both phase 1 and phase 2.

I searched the Kingman Daily Miner's website for past articles about the general plan before that election and came up with NOTHING, so I don't know (and can't remember) the community discussion about this very important (as it seems now) subject. The only thing I vaguely remember about deciding to vote to approve the General Plan or not was the fact that according to state of Arizona statutes... municipalities had to HAVE one. I certainly do not remember anyone selling me on the idea that approving the General Plan equated to a huge infrastructure project moving forward. If the interchange was a selling point I know that I would have remembered it since I've been saying since I moved here in 2000 that I didn't think there were enough interchanges in Kingman along Interstate 40.

If you decide to peruse the General Plan that I linked to above, be sure the read chapter 9 of that document. It is the cost of development element that talks about the various ways that the City of Kingman should consider, going forward, as ways to pay for improvement projects. See the following...

The Cost of Development Element includes:

A.) A component that identifies various mechanisms that can be used to fund additional public services necessary to serve new development, including, but not limited to: bonding, special taxing districts, development fees, in lieu fees, facility construction, dedications, and service privatization.

B.) A component that identifies policies to ensure that any mechanisms adopted by the City of Kingman under this element result in a beneficial use to the development and bear a reasonable relationship to the burden imposed on the City to provide the additional public services.

Easy enough right?? I'll share a bit more from item number 9-2 from this chapter named Funding Mechanisms of the General Plan...

In order to achieve Kingman's goal of meeting the needs of our growing community, the City must continue to expand public infrastructure and facilitate services. It is important that the City establish specific policies, plans and strategies that can be implemented with community support to address financial needs and achieve stated community goals.

With continued growth, Kingman has made efforts to fund increases in the number of police and fire personnel, and other employees, services and facilities. City facilities and services are funded through the general fund and some special grants. The general fund is funded through sales tax revenues, which are the largest source of revenue, and other population-based revenues from the State or through payment for City services. Sales tax revenue tends to be unpredictable due to fluctuating economic conditions such as employment rates, stock market changes, and tourism levels.

Among the list of funding mechanisms mentioned in 9-2.1 of the General Plan is the following...

Development Agreements

Development agreements are permitted under A.R.S. 9-500.5 for municipalities. Development agreements permit contractual arrangements between the City and property owner(s) regulating the permitted uses, density, maximum height, and other aspects of the land subject to the agreement. Advantages of development agreements are that they are voluntary and, therefore, mutually agreeable to all parties involved in the negotiations. Also, they can enable the City to attain planning goals at minimal or without costs.

Yep... Kingman voters voted on this. Now let's take a look at the goals, objectives, and policies from 9-4 of this chapter of the General Plan...

GOAL: To apportion the costs of development by ensuring that development pays its "fair share" of the costs of additional public service facilities, and needs generated by new development.

Objective 1.0:

Ensure that City services, facilities, equipment and infrastructure properly serve the community in a manner that enhances quality of life, optimizes existing facilities, and provides for future needs.


1.8 Evaluate public/private partnerships, and development agreements.

To save space I did not include all the listed policies in this subsection of the General Plan. I do find it interesting that Mr. Pettit uses the General Plan to make his point about Rattlesnake Wash, doesn't seem to want to abide by the General Plan when it comes to evaluating public/private partnerships as stated as a policy.

Mr. Pettit also mentioned something about maps earlier... stating in the past that the Rattlesnake Wash interchange was included on the land use map for the General Plan. Click on the land use map at the link I offered earlier... once you have opened that map please notice that the Kingman Crossing interchange is now that map... and also notice that the map itself has be revised in 2005, 2006, and 2007 (and likely again in 2008... probably due to change and growth).

I don't think the General Plan should be used politically the way we've seen it used in that manner over the last year or so. Especially since the whole concept of the plan is mandated by the state of Arizona first and foremost. The other bit of importance is that this plan is primarily used as a guideline and not something set in stone... the plan can be altered based on change and need.

I see the need for change in Kingman because of the growth we have experienced. The flow of growth is moving nicely east along the Interstate.

With the utmost respect towards a fellow candidate for the office of City Council, I am compelled to disagree with him for the reasons I have included in this blog post. I certainly wouldn't mind discussing these issues further with anyone who wanted to, whether you agree or disagree. Candidates for office are invited to chime in as well if they choose.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

My election season rules at MOCO...

Hey folks, just as the newspaper headline said today... the campaign is on. Last nights forum was an interesting experience for me personally and I expect other such events will also be covered by the media with quotes from candidates and possibly editorials/opinions... and even letters to the editor.

I have told folks that I intend to use this blog to help me get my message out during the campaign. I see this site as an asset for communication purposes. My hope is that anyone who wishes will join any discussion on these political topics, will do so... even if their position is in opposition of my own.

However, I will not allow anyone to comment about other candidates in a negative personal manner. This site will not be used for 'politics of personal destruction'. I ask you all to please refrain from commenting negatively about the person (candidate). That is my limitation, nothing personal in the form of an attack against somebody. Zero -- zilch -- nada.

Comments that fall into a personal attack category will simply be deleted.

I have no problem with any comments that may happen to disagree with something a candidate says or stands for (that includes whatever I say or stand for). You are free to disagree and discuss the politics all you want as long as you keep it on that level.

Discussion about the issues is paramount at this time in this community. Often I find very worthy while discussions when there is disagreement and, to me, that is a good byproduct when there is opposition.

I expect that there will be comments left here that disagree with me and my views and as long as there is a respectful tone in the back and forth... it will be 'all good'.

To other candidates for mayor and council... feel free to post on this site if you want. If you do, all I ask is that you use your real name and include your email so that I can verify that it is you leaving the comment and not someone else who is up to no good or could harm your good name.

I will still use this site to perhaps disagree with another candidate, but only so far as what is presented either in the papers or other media or events. If I do disagree, it won't be on a personal nature... it will be on what was said or what was presented.

I don't think there is a bad candidate for either office that is running in the upcoming election, last night I felt as if Kingman was very lucky to have the citizens it has step up for consideration to serve by the will of the residents.

To everyone, please help me by respecting these simple rules during the campaign. Let's all feel free to discuss the issues as we see them, if we are different on the issues... so let it be. Let's move the discussion forward as best we can and simply agree to disagree when we can't.

Thank you.

New local political web site

I just found a site set up for discussions on local politics.

Check it out here at

There is even some breaking news at the discussion forum... apparently one of the candidates has reported to have dropped out of the race for city council. See who it is there.

December Sales Report (2007)

It is over... thankfully. 2007 was a difficult year for sellers and Realtors alike, worse than 2006. The hangover from 2005 lingers on and we are likely in for more suffering into 2008. That is the bad news.

The good news is that, finally, we are seeing sellers begin to understand buyers... they are almost on speaking terms, but sellers still have a little ways to go.

I will be offering a year end wrap up report with all kinds of different data sets and comparisons but let's get this month end report finished first.

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:

Dear 2008... please do not tease me, please answer one wish... one result for the upcoming year... please make the numbers on the red line surpass the numbers on the blue line with consistency when I post this chart next December. I'll even be nice with this request... I won't care if you make this happen by reducing the number of new listings while holding the units sold steady (well increase those just a bit at least).

We still have an inventory problem.

Average listings and sales averages chart:

The pattern has changed... this chart has recently started to resemble what a seismic readout might look like during an earthquake. In this chart the red and blue lines are not following each other as consistently as they once were. We are in a state of flux, the adjustment... or correction... or whatever you want to call it is happening right now.

2004 through 2007 unit sales chart:

In terms of units, 2007 got its ass kicked by a very poor 2006. Not one month was more productive than in the previous year.

I'm removing the 2004 data in next months report... wave bye-bye... bon voyage... I know I miss you.

2004 through 2007 average price chart:

Like I just said, I'll be removing the 2004 data for next month... but don't be surprised if 2008 doesn't replace it... however it will be an inverted line most likely, heading in the other direction.

2004 through 2007 median price chart:

Sales prices ranged from $115,000 on the low side to $360,000 on the high side for December.

Average SFR statistics:

The average home sold in December had 3.13 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a 2.154 car garage, included 1,594 square feet of living space, and was built in 1999. The average hold sold for an average of $116 per square foot of living space even lower than last month (alert... trend forming).

It took an average of 134 days of marketing to attract a buyer to come to an agreement and a total of 177 days from the first day of marketing to the close of escrow.

Sellers reduced price $18,357 to attract a buyer on average from the first day of marketing, and conceded another $14,541 to the buyer in the transaction. The total average price concession for the homes sold in October was $32,898. Not to pick on Realtors or anything... but we must do a better job at pricing the properties to where the market will bear. It's a little better than last month... but we are still way off.

Bonus Charts:

To borrow from my favorite comedy movie ever...

"The Sheriff is..." yelled Gabby Johnson from atop the roof.

"What he say??" asked a towns person.

"He said the correction is here." Replied Todd Tarson.

Okay I was not actually in that movie, but this is what I'd say if I had just looked at the above chart. If you are thinking of selling your single family home... and don't want to wait 6 months, 9 months, or over a year to attract a buyer... then please study this chart before you place your home on the market.

The blue portion of the bars above equals a waste of time... especially yours... and in this market, time IS money.

Down and down the price per square foot it goes... where it stops... only the buyers know.

Well that puts a cap on the sales reports for 2007. Increased inventory, asking prices that were way too high to begin with, and a new (but bad) direction forming were the themes. I will do a separate post for the year end report in a few days.

Here's to 2008!!

Event held last night...

I probably should have blogged about this yesterday to perhaps ask some of my supporters to attend the Mohave Republican Forum last night held at the Elk's. Luckily... many friends and well wishers showed up without any nudging. Here I'm thanking those people that did show up and support my efforts last night.

I'd also like to thank the Mohave Republican Forum for hosting the event last night. The Forum invited all of the candidates for Mayor and City Council. The turnout of attendees was incredible and it was a good sight to see... you can tell how important this election is going to be to many people in Kingman. All thirteen candidates spoke at the event (I keep saying event... it wasn't like a debate... not quite a town hall meeting... event works for me at this time). The mayoral candidates were allotted five minutes each to speak about themselves and their platform, while the council candidates were given three minutes for an introduction and then were asked a series of questions where one minute was allotted for answers.

With thirteen of us up there it felt like we were in for a long night, but once the questions rounds started things seemed to move along pretty good.

I would have attended this event even if I was not running for council. Given the fact that I am a candidate, I still used last nights event to get to know the other candidates and where they stand on important issues. In fact I still have to decide how I will cast my vote for two other council candidates (and mayor).

In my opening remarks I compared my past experience as a local leader at the local Realtor Association to some of the challenges a new city leader is going to face in the months and years ahead.

Our association was faced with budget shortfalls and other financial strains when I first joined the leadership team over five years ago. Luckily in a short period of time, the leaders helped bring us out of 'red' numbers and into the black. This is very similar to the challenge that awaits the new council this summer... how do we get the city's financial house back in order??

I also highlighted that our association lowered the overall annual cost of membership, not once, but twice while I was on the leadership team. If the city is going to lower the cost of whatever improvements that are coming down the line, I believe the city will have to put together a strong and precise annexation plan that incorporates more land and population to help ease the burden on citizens. I'd love to lower the cost to citizens of Kingman, not once, but twice (or more).

Featured also was the fact that the association improved services and member expectations as our little group quadrupled in size during those years and to me that parallels the expectations our citizens have of the city as it continues to grow. I know growing pains, but more importantly... I know growing 'gains'.

I talked a bit about being elected last year to serve on the executive committee at the state Realtor association and the challenges that await me and the other leaders this year. I emphasized that over 50,000 members are counting on the like of me to 1) hire a new CEO to replace our retiring CEO (while Kingman has to decide on a new city manager) and 2) manage our association in a declining real estate market (while Kingman is facing a declining local economy).

I wanted to paint a picture that my experience helps me to be capable to serve my fellow citizen with respect and honor.

My experience in leadership helped mold my being an open communicator and consensus builder. I've never attempted to be the smartest person in the room... but I have insisted that we all are the smartest people in the room when we are all together. I pushed for establishing committees at the local association so that more members were part of the decision making process and also to avoid a perceived dictatorship. Judging by last nights turnout, there will be plenty of citizens that will be involved in the process and changes that we will start seeing by the end of this year. Kingman will be directed by the good people that reside here, and I will insist on it.

Three minutes was not enough time to present what I had hoped to.

Overall, it was a great evening and I received very positive comments from many people who attended at the end of the event.

The media was in attendance and it will be interesting to see (and hear) how the event was covered.

I commend all of the other candidates for stepping up at this time to be part of the process.

Next week there will be a similar forum held by the CIVIC group. I'll have more details before that event and hope that you can attend.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Water use report about Las Vegas

In December's Economic Development Journal of Mohave County there was a bit of information about a water study that was recently done in the Las Vegas Nevada area.

Here is the link to the sixty page report.

I've been reading the report for the last few days because there is quite a bit of information about conservation efforts. Now Las Vegas gets most of it's water from Lake Mead (Colorado River) whereas Kingman gets its supply from beneath the ground we walk on. Obviously there are different aspects to consider between the two ways water is supplied to the different population bases.

The detailed report also included some recommendations to help preserve precious water resources for the Las Vegas market that is expected to continue to grow for many years into the future (kinda like Kingman). I think some of the recommendations should be considered by the people of this community and perhaps the new leaders of the city will be asked to actually do something about the future of water resources right here.

The report revealed that Las Vegas had done some good things in getting outdoor water use on the radar, but little was done about indoor water savings. Some of the recommendations for improving efficiency of indoor water use included:

Implement a set of indoor water-efficiency programs that target older homes and high volume users; to include rebates and audits of such users; retrofit efforts; education programs; and more.

Expand efforts to develop a tiered block rate structure that incorporates low fixed costs, low rates for water sufficient to meet basic indoor needs, and a sharply increasing rate for higher-volume outdoor uses.

Adopt ordinances that target indoor water use, such as retrofit-on-resale ordinances.

Now please don't misunderstand... I'm not saying that I would implement any or all of these recommendations based on this one report... but I do think we all need to have a conversation about conservation to determine what we are all willing to do about the perceived problem about our water resources. These items probably make for a decent 'ice breaker' to get that conversation going.

The report also made some recommendations about new developments to consider as the Las Vegas area continues to grow while facing a strain on water resources. I do believe that it is a must that we ensure that new developments in Kingman are highly water efficient.

Develop more aggressive ordinances to further limit turf area in new developments.

Provide better financial incentives to builders and developers who install water-efficient landscapes and devices that exceed current indoor water efficiency standards.

Obviously a public campaign would have to be formed to deliver educational programs to the community on ways to save water.

Create a culture of conservation by developing a consistent message about the importance of indoor and outdoor conservation.

Offer public awards for innovative conservation programs.

Again... all of these are ideas and recommendations pulled from a study done for the Las Vegas area, but I can see our own community perhaps adopting some of these as we move forward.

The report has all kinds of nice pie charts and other useful information that is useful. One chart compares the use of water as per the population with an estimate for growth through the year 2035. It looks like Las Vegas will grow its population by 75% by 2035 and its water use will increase by nearly 60%. The good news from the report seems to indicate that Las Vegas would be able to provide water for the growth if water conservation efforts are successful... and I think that correlates to our local situation in a similar manner.

The last bit I'll share from the report is on the data about end use of indoor water that was done in 2000 in the Las Vegas Valley. I was surprised by the findings. I did not realize that water usage from toilets is the number one use of water in a household (26%). I thought it would be showers and baths, it just seemed logical to me. Actually, showers and baths was found to be 4th on the list for average use (which really surprised me). After toilets clothes washing machines use 20%, most egregious in my opinion was that leaks in the house came in 3rd at 18% of water use.

Well at this point most of us are aware of low flow toilets and high efficiency washing machines and the benefits. There must be newer technology in household products that reduce the apparent leaking problem (I don't know if the report points to such things as leaky faucets for the leak or if it is something harder to detect, say leaking from water pipes somewhere in the plumbing behind the walls).

After leaks, shower and bath accounted for 17% of usage, faucets accounted for 14%, other domestic uses came in at 10%, and dishwashers was last on the home use list at 7%.

None of this talk of conservation is new... heck back in grade school I remember my 4th grade class had to do some kind of report on water conservation. I think what is new though, is now that water resources have become politicized in this part of the country... what are we actually willing to do about it??

Our small community might actually grow at a faster rate than our neighbors 100 miles north and we don't have the luxury of looking at a body of water (Lake Mead) to get a clear understanding just how much it appears that water is being used up. Our water is underground and reports of how much there actually is down there varies immensely. So as a community, what are we going to do?? When are we going to do it??

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

RE blogger ticks off government official

Back on December 12th, fellow Realtor and blogger, Danilo Bogdanovic, posted this on his blog. This was basically a 'heads up' about a potential issue between assessed values on real property in relation to market value for the same thing.

Everyone knows that Loudoun County real estate property values have gone down significantly over the last several years, including 2007. For everyone's sake, I hope that the Loudoun County Tax Assessor realizes this as well when computing 2008 tax assessments. Everyone we've talked to in Loudoun County is upset about their assessed value and most are worried that their 2008 tax assessments will not be in line with their fair market value. The people who are even more upset are those who appealed their tax assessments earlier this year and were completely shot down without a good, if any explanation.

Yes, they're upset because they've lost market value. But why are they really upset? Because 2007 assessed values are up to 30 percent higher than current market values (non-foreclosures or short-sales) and they think that the Tax Assessor doesn't care. That means that Loudoun County residents are paying up to 30 percent more in taxes than they should.

In response, the Loudoun County Tax Assessor has thrown a fit and has threatened action against the blogger (see the threats here on this post). This whole thing is getting plenty of attention throughout the RE blogosphere because of the attack on free speech. Rightfully so.

Here is one of the best responses from another blogger towards the Louden County official.

One of the main reasons as to why I 'blog' is to attract some attention towards certain aspects buyers and sellers should consider when transacting business. It is likely that I would say the very same things to a potential client in person in my office (for example) that I say on this blog. This blog allows my thoughts to be shared in a very informal manner, a reader might stop by and use the information that is posted at his or her own convenience. I'm always striving towards sharing information so that others can decide.

There may be times when my thoughts that I share are incorrect, and by blogging, it has allowed readers and others to comment and maybe help me correct whatever it is that I am trying to communicate. And maybe this is what Danilo should have faced instead of the threats he received from the county official in Virginia. If the assessor would have instead posted on Danilo's blog in an effort to correct the information then everything would have turned out different. Instead the bloggers free speech was attacked... and most likely because Danilo wasn't wrong about anything.

December listings report (2007)

Last but not least... uh... actually according to the numbers for December, the month WAS least in terms of new listings and average asking price. Not bad, not bad at all.

Now... let's not actually start partying like it's New Years Eve over the fact that listing number fell in December just yet. The number of unit's that received a contract fell for December. But I must say that I sort of expected the new contracts to fall because of the month -- new contracts fell 17% while new listings fell 35% from the previous month.

I have a feeling that the 2008 listing numbers will be fun to track. I've been hoping that we'd start seeing a reduction in new listing numbers to at least close the gap between listings and sales on a monthly basis. Since it doesn't appear that sales numbers will gain all that much in order to close the gap, I'll gladly take the reduction of numbers from new listings that will in effect close the gap.

Anyway... 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.


Today total listings available for single family residence equals 650 (down from 708 on December 1). The rate of new listings taken per day in December was 2.1.

There were 65 new listings taken in December (number down as compared to 100 in November). The average asking price for the new listings is $201,624 (down quite a bit from last months $239,647). The median asking price is $174,450 (also down significantly from $209,900 previously).

The average newly listed home has 3.12 bedrooms, 2 baths, a 1.75 car garage, with 1,564 square feet of living space and was built in 1992. The average asking price per square foot of living space is $129. Lastly, 12 of the new listings were actually re-listed either by the same or different broker.

Units under contract:

As of today there are 70 total units under contract (down from the number of 83 last month).

25 units entered into contracts in the month of December (dropping as compared to 30 the previous month). The average asking price for homes that received contracts was $206,044 (up from $196,752 last month) and the median asking price for December was $170,450 (down slightly from the previous months $174,900 figure).

The average home that went under contract in December has 3.16 bedrooms, 2 baths, a 2.4 car garage, with 1,586 square feet of living space, and was built in 2001. The average asking price per square foot of living space for listings that entered contract this month is $130. It was also priced $18,568 higher when it first was listed as compared to its current asking price (the average price reduction was $16,560 last month). The average marketing time to reach a contract was 184 days (from 115 last month).


Perhaps sellers are finally responding to the reality of the market in larger numbers. I would like a pattern emerge over the next few months to know for certain though. Another number to notice is the total number of available listings that fell back into the 600's. It is still too high of a number that will have negative impacts on the price of homes going forward. It equals an estimated 15 to 20 estimated months worth of standing inventory as compared to the rate of sales.

For the units that took a contract, the average year the home was built was 2001 and that marks the first time an average age number hit the new millennium for listings, contracts, or sales.

Where is the bottom?? I simply do not know but I offer this guess... if the data activity continues to jump around the way it has over the last six months AND the overall number of active listings continues to fall (either by sales or simple attrition through expirations of listings) then we will likely see the bottom of this market emerge by the end of the new year.

2008 will be a bumpy ride, and it will be important for both buyers and sellers to track the changes in the market this year. It might be easier to predict the weather this upcoming year than the local housing market.