Wednesday, July 30, 2008

So... the town hall deal??

I was unable to attend last night, but I bet a few of you did. Please give some thoughts and details of the discussion.

Update:

Thanks for all the comments (save one), linked here is the article from the paper (KDM).

Sunday, July 27, 2008

FHA news...

I received the following in an email from a lender.

For all of your prospective buyers planning to purchase a home using an FHA loan, (or for any currently in process) please be aware of the following recent & important FHA changes:

Down Payment Assistance
The Senate has just passed a new all encompassing housing bill and it is going to the House on Saturday, 7/26 for a vote. It is expected for the bill to pass. Included in the bill is the elimination of seller funded down payment assistance programs such as Ameridream, Nehemiah & Partners in Charity. The reasoning for the ban is that FHA statistics show that seller-funded down payments present the single biggest challenge to its solvency. Borrowers who take part in these arrangements go to foreclosure at nearly three times the rate of borrowers who put their own money down, according to the agency. It's unclear how quickly the new policy would kick in if it's enacted. If you have any buyers using one of these programs to purchase a home, we encourage them to act quickly and get under contract.

Up-front & Monthly MIP (Mortgage Insurance Premium)
All FHA loans used to be standardized with a 1.5% upfront MIP and a .50% factor for monthly mortgage insurance. This has changed. Both upfront MIP and monthly rates are on a tier system based on down payment, loan term (15 or 30 years), credit score and use of traditional or non-traditional credit. Upfront MIP now ranges from 1.25% to 2%. The monthly factor now ranges from .25 - .55%. Remember, up-front MIP can be financed into the loan or paid in cash up front by buyer or seller. Monthly mortgage insurance is required on all FHA loans, regardless of down payment amount. Please contact us if you would like charts outlining the change detail. A reduction in upfront MIP "may" be available for first time homebuyers who complete an approved Homebuyer Education course.

Property Flipping - REO's Exempt
FHA requires that the seller of the property being financed by an FHA loan be in title for a minimum of 90 days. Therefore, a new contract with FHA financing must be written no earlier than the 91st day. Due to the number of foreclosures, properties with a recent foreclosure are now exempt from the 90 day requirement. This is a temporary waiver that is in effect until June 8, 2009. The waiver applies only to the initial sale of a foreclosed property and does not extend to a subsequent sale of that property.

REO Appliances & Escrow Holdbacks
FHA no longer requires that a free-standing stove be in place in the property at the time of closing. However, built in ranges/appliances would still be required to be installed prior to closing. On a case-by-case basis, escrow holdbacks may be allowed for the installation of appliances or minor repair items in an FHA financed home. However, the buyer must deposit the full cost of the repair or appliance into escrow (cannot be financed), provide proof of contract to install or proof of purchase, be able to complete the work within 7-10 days and receive underwriter approval. This is limited to smaller items required for the functioning of the home and does not extend to cosmetic repairs. Pools are required to be filled and functioning. For larger rehab or repairs, and FHA buyer should consider the FHA 203K Streamline rehab loan, available at Wells Fargo. Please contact us for information.

Utilities
Utilities must be on and operating at the time of FHA appraisal. If the utilities are shut off, it is best to meet the appraiser at the home and turn them on during the appraisal process. If not, a reinspection will need to be done by the appraiser prior to funding to ensure working utilities.

Termite Reports
FHA no longer automatically requires a termite report on all loans. A clear termite will be required if a) the contract calls for it, b) buyer is using a DAP (down payment assistance program) that requires it , c) the appraiser comments on potential termite evidence. Please verify with your lender and their policies if not using Wells Fargo. Although it is a good idea to do a termite inspection on all homes in Arizona, it could also create unnecessary issues if the report was not needed, but comes in showing earth to wood contact or moisture. If a termite report comes in "un-clean" and is presented to the lender or title company, a clear termite will then be required even if the original loan did not require one. If a clear termite is required on the loan, it is prudent to do ASAP at the beginning of the contract term so there is time to make corrections if necessary. Learn how to read your reports and learn what lenders are looking for before you send the report to title or your lender.

Credit Policies
FHA used to have a 12 month look back for credit accounts and not deny credit to any buyer with insufficient traditional or non-traditional credit. The look back period for credit accounts has increased to 24 months and new guidelines are established for the type of amount of credit required to be approved for an FHA loan. These guidelines are lengthy. The point is to make sure that all buyers using an FHA loan are either pre-approved or "fully underwritten" prior to contract. Many lenders will not fully underwrite a file prior to contract.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Info on foreclosures...

From time to time I'll get phone calls and email requesting information as to where a person might be able to find information on local foreclosures. I know that many online sites require some sort of fee, but I found one source that seems to offer plenty of information for free.

The site requires registration though, but check out ForeclosurePoint.com if you'd like more information.

I searched zip code 86401 and came up with 259 listings.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Interesting links

I found a couple of blog articles today that caught my interest and wanted to pass them along before I leave for the day.

First one from the Rain City Blog where a contributor details a panel discussion on foreclosure held at the Real Estate Connect event. Be sure to read the comments.

The other comes from the BloodhoundBlog and the subject deals with the term Realtwhore. Fun reading.

Happy reading.

Open house events not selling homes??

Have you thought of allowing prospective buyers to stay the night?? Me either, but apparently some folks are using this kind of event as a way to hopefully attract buyers in this market.

Read more here...

In most markets, home buyers have the upper hand these days. That often means they have greater negotiating power when it come to price or the ability to squeeze out extra perks from sellers ready to make a deal.

But on occasion, they'll ask a seller for even more, a request that will help get to know the home better and determine if they're ready to commit.

They'll ask to sleep over.

Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Noticeable

There has been a change of public opinion in recent months on some issues and subject matter revolving around local city politics. While I can't determine the actual point where the shift occurred, the shift is no doubt noticeable.

"Heaven's to Betsy... what's he talking about now??"

I'll let you in right now and notify you up front that in this post the RAID PAC will be mentioned a few times. You remember RAID right?? I'm talking about the extremely nice folks that banded together to form a political action committee to take on tough issues that faced Kingman in the last couple of years (give or take some months).

There has been a public opinion battle going on for some time now and the battlefield appears at the Kingman Daily Miner's website. For weeks now I have been watching the letters to the editor and blog's at the online site and noticed many more comments from readers chiming in and thereby joining the discussion.

I have to interrupt for just a second and give kudos to the Miner for their enhanced web-site, I truly appreciate the opportunity to read more of the content online instead of the more traditional hard copy version. I don't know of course but it is my best guess that the upgraded website has allowed for more reader interaction, and the content has been enjoyable -- at least to this reader. Makes me want to buy stuff that is advertised on that site even.

Now back to the show... where was I??

Yes of course, RAID. Look, I'm going to try and be as delicate as I can about the following. My record of disagreements with the RAID PAC has been documented and nothing really has changed. While I respect their group as individuals and think that all members that I have met are good people, in my opinion the real positive thing they have done (and it is something they do need thanking for) is that they have helped bring issues out into the open for public consumption. The level of public involvement is at an all time high for the eight plus years since I've lived in Kingman. They should get full marks for that.

Luckily though this is still a free country and disagreements (civil of course) are still allowed. Since their political action committees inception they have come out 'Against' issues that I consider natural and progressive leading to opportunity and a better quality of life for the residents of Kingman.

Go ahead... disagree with me... it is allowed. Nothing I can do to stop how you might feel about how I see the RAID PAC's stance on an issue they defeated that would have led to more demand and a higher value to 160-acres or so of Kingman resident owned land where future funds can be captured and used to support the improvement of community services leading to a better quality of life for the residents of Kingman. I have a strong feeling that we'll see that old land use designation issue come up again sometime soon but for now I'll get back to the public opinion battle. (Hey RAID PAC, how's those plans for Kingman's Central Park and drainage ditch coming??)

A few weeks back now the Miner ran a public opinion poll on the front page of their website. The poll question went something like: Do you think the RAID PAC has been helpful or hurtful to the Kingman community?? The choices were to either select 'helpful' or 'hurtful'.

Now I'm not a big fan of online polls. I see plenty of polls that can be voted on more than once all over the web for all kinds of different subjects. It is easy to skew results by merely a few people voting multiple times rendering the online poll manipulated and useless. However, I have seen better online polls more recently. Like anything online it seems, even polling software can be written to recognize an IP address. When I ran a couple of polls on this blog during the local city office elections I noticed that I couldn't vote more than once from one IP address... unless... one knew how to manipulate the polling software in a way or change their IP address (two things I simply do not have any working knowlege of how to accomplish). The polls here at MOCO certainly were not scientific but the results pretty close as it pertained to who eventually won the last two seats on the city council from the May election. I'll just say that those MOCO polls held some entertainment value at best.

Well the Miner's poll results of the RAID PAC poll showed basically 3 out of 4 respondents clicking on the 'hurtful' option. I immediately thought to myself that the poll must allow for multiple responses at will. Afterall, the RAID PAC folks have been stating on many occasions that they kinda-sorta represent the citizens of Kingman.

From a letter to the editor on Friday, July 18 of this year a RAID PAC member wrote the following...

A recent poll in this paper showed that 75 percent of those that voted claimed that our group does more harm than good for our town. Our answer is to look at the results of the polls in November. Those are the numbers that tell us if we are in tune with the needs of the public, and so far, it has been a resounding vote of support for our accomplishments.


Sounds a little like gloating to me even though last November the 6th after the election the RAID PAC wrote this on their website...

Nov. 6, 2007 – Although it should not be considered a R.A.I.D. victory, but a victory of the voters, the results of the city election this day mirrored the tireless efforts of the members of the R.A.I.D. group. The resounding defeat of all 6 questions sent a clear message to the Mayor and City Council that R.A.I.D.’s position more closely represented the feelings of voters than did that elected body. R.A.I.D. does not gloat but instead suggests to the Mayor and Council that they listen to the message sent by voters and alter their decisions in such a way as to bring about the wishes of the voters of this city.


Your mileage may vary on the perception both statements have led me to.

In todays issue a good friend of MOCO penned a letter to the editor and the readers started to respond in various ways. Click here to see the posting by none other than Ken Herskind. While I'll agree to much of what Ken included in his letter, it is in the following comments that really had my attention. Partly because a reader brought up the subject of online polls and how they are a waste of time because of similar observations that I described earlier.

I was surprised by a response from the IT person at the Miner, and now actually a couple of responses (and I'll simply copy and paste them below so you don't have to go back and forth).

The software used to run the Miner's online Reader Poll looks at the user's IP address, and allows only one (1) vote from that address. While it is possible to spoof an alternate address, it is beyond the average user's ability.

The Miner's poll is accurate.

At the same time, it is not "official" to use your term, any more than a door-to-door survey would be. But it is accurate.

To answer a question that a few people have raised -- "73 percent of how many?" -- 596 votes were submitted to the poll in question; 161 thought RAID was helping Kingman, 435 thought RAID was hurting Kingman. (27 and 73 percent respectively.)

Hope this puts things in their proper perspective for you.

Dane Ronnow
IT Technician
Western News&Info


I've made it clear in the past that I felt the Miner played a significant role in the rise of the RAID PAC... the Miner always seemed to be in the right place for a timely photo opportunity of the RAID PAC for prominent front page placement... the Miner was allowing a vocal RAID PAC member to write a regular column (although I haven't seen much from the guest columnist in months)... and on at least one occasion a writing staff member of the Miner came to the RAID PAC defense against other community voices that were not professionally trained op/ed contributors. I'm not saying that the RAID PAC didn't deserve media coverage, not saying that at all... but a front page headline about the RAID PAC playing musical chairs with their leadership?? What's next, a RAID PAC suggested recipe list for Thanksgiving dinner??

But above my last little rant, I see a Miner staff member validate the results of the online poll confirming that KDM readers voted against the RAID PAC... uh yeah... imagine my surprise.

However Mr. Ronnow's foray into the conversation was simply not enough for some folks that left a comment following, so he responds again...

Normally, IT doesn't get involved on a personal level in these comment boards, but because your comment ("...one person can vote numerous times by using numerous IP addresses. If the miner is going to have polls on there website then put some locks in place to correctly tally the data.") implies first that anybody can change their IP address on a whim, and secondly that the software module controlling the Miner's reader poll is insufficient to do what it was designed to do, I feel compelled to respond.


I feel compelled to continue to read on...

Without getting into a technical discussion about network software, modems and DHCP leases, suffice it to say you're wrong. With leases running at least a week or longer on commercial ISP configurations, the vote would be over before you could reset your IP once.

There are no "locks" on the module that controls the reader poll. There is a conditional statement that tells it to compare a computer's IP with those already in the database. If a vote has already been logged from that computer, all subsequent attempts to vote from the same machine will be ignored until the database is cleared. That only happens when a new question is uploaded.

Dane Ronnow
IT Technician
Western News&Info, Inc


Whoah!! I have to admit two things... Mr. Ronnow had me a DHCP leases... and that I have no idea what DHCP leases are (but I Googled it... and still don't fully comprehend). No matter though.

I didn't get all too excited about the poll or the results when I first started paying attention to them on the Miner's site. I never blogged about it... until now (after the Miner standing behind the poll and validating the results). Still though, who knows who actually voted on the thing?? Could have been plenty of folks from outside the area for all we know. Certainly the results are not scientific and even the Miner admits as such. Cool.

My observation about a noticeable change in public opinion is not solely based on the poll at the Miner's website though. It is just a part of it. The other bits stem from the comments in response to RAID PAC related articles, columns, and letters to the editor on the Miner's website. Also the citizens like Barron Yankowitz who seems to have no affiliation with builders, developers, or even dastardly Realtors that have spoke out against the RAID PAC at public meetings including city council events.

But it doesn't stop there... the clear change in the local economy has probably played the biggest role in the change of public opinion... especially as it pertains to growth related issues. $4 dollar a gallon gas has to be a big factor. Yes the higher gas price hurts, but has it stopped familiar friendly Kingman faces from shopping in Bullhead and Havasu at their new retail shopping centers?? Come on... raise your hands if you saw the new movie 'The Dark Knight' since it opened. You didn't spend that retail sales tax money here in Kingman. I believe many residents are realizing the revenue opportunities that our community is losing and it makes an impact on public opinion.

Another factor that could be leading to a change in public opinion is availability of jobs in Kingman. I won't be blaming the RAID PAC for the reports of job losses increasing in Mohave County, but I believe that residents of Kingman are seeing opportunities dry up. Opportunities that used to be prevalent not all that long ago. Before the talk of slowing down growth was a bit more popular, certainly.

The pro-growth sides of public opinion has faults as well, mainly at the voting booth. While the public opinion poll about the RAID PAC indicates one thing... the numbers at the only poll that really counts are lacking. The blame there is not the doing of the RAID PAC, nope they got their voters out, one needs to look in the mirror first before casting blame in another direction. It will be some time before the voters of Kingman cast another vote on city business or for elected officials and public opinion can obviously change again.

What can be done in the meantime?? Well, as stated a few computer screens worth of words above, the RAID PAC has shown the way. Get involved, speak up, organize. Demand the facts on the important issues from official sources and even the local media. Put on your critical thinking hats and play the issues out in your mind, offer up proposed solutions, maybe even compromise a tad here or there to move forward. Pay attention to even minor issues as sometimes they grow to be big issues. Bend the ear of your elected officials... we elected them after all dontcha know.

Here is one more test of public opinion in regards to the RAID PAC. From their accomplishments page on the RAID PAC website...

Oct. 9, 2007 – At the monthly meeting of the City of Kingman Planning and Zoning Commission, R.A.I.D. members vocally contested an attempt to implement a zoning text amendment that would have allowed the placement of large (over 40 ft. tall) wind turbine generators in residential neighborhoods. Stressing to the commission the visual impact, collapse hazard, noise, threat to wildlife, and general commercial nature of the devices and the many siting issues embedded with the operation of the turbines, R.A.I.D. was successful in having the commission turn down the proposal when the short quorum (4 members) voted 4-0 to deny the start of an amendment process. The item may come back at a later time, but for now, the city council will have nothing to consider or implement for the present.


Maybe somebody can recall a more recent Miner website poll about placement of wind turbines in neighborhoods??

The item has come back with a vengeance, I'd say. A 20% (est.) electricity rate hike probably has made an impact on public opinion... that and the wind blows hard enough to create electricity with one of these baby's in your backyard on most days to make up some of that difference (if not all, I'm no expert but I'd play one on TV if they paid me enough).

Bottom line is that public opinion is subject to change. Just because the pro-growth side of some important issues took a few lumps to the chin last November, it doesn't mean that the RAID PAC will always win the day. Hey... hat's off to them last year... they managed to get somewhere near 2,000 voters to cast a vote for their side. The former RAID PAC president is confident that the PAC is looking out for the best interest of the silent majority. I see the silent majority as the many thousands of registered voters that didn't bother to show up last year at the special election. I'd say the jury is out as to how they might see the issues. Personally, I can't wait to hear from them as I suspect a great portion need jobs and opportunity that growth offers and now that they are being affected by the effort to limit growth... maybe they'll show up next time... just like the voices are in the Miner are now.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Good luck to the 'Friday Columnist'

Most of the locals know by now that a certain journalist at a certain local newspaper is no longer under the employ of the certain local newspaper.

This young person reached notoriety for not only his coverage of local events, but also for his op/ed articles that mainly appeared in the Friday edition of the Kingman Daily Miner. He seemed to be either loved or hated in Kingman, hardly any in-between. His writing would certainly create long conversations amongst many of the people I know that read the paper. And honestly, I looked forward to the Friday edition just to see if my blood would boil halfway through the piece.

I'll never forget the phone call one Friday morning from a pal. It was just a little after 6:00am and the voice on the phone simply told me to read the paper... and that I was going to be pissed. I happened to be part of the subject matter in the op/ed that morning and it was in that article where I learned that I'd probably lose a debate to a nine year old sister of the author.

This was my only response to the op/ed
.

I know what you may be thinking, now that this journalist doesn't have barrels of ink at his disposal that all the angst that I must have saved up will now come rushing out. That vengeance is now mine to take... but that won't be so.

It took awhile, but I actually came to respect the young man in the few weeks following that op/ed.

You see, he believed that I wrote something on this blog that was in error and came to my office for a discussion. The people here at the office knew that I was not very happy with this person at the time and wanted to make sure it was alright with me before allowing him into my office for a chat. I was surprised to know that he was here. As it turned out, the issue he had about what he read on this blog was not something that I actually wrote. MOCO's other contributor was the person he needed to speak to.

I was on the phone when I was informed that the 'Friday Columnist' was at this location and practically at the end of the phone conversation. However, I made the person on the other end of the phone stay on the line with me for another few minutes as I wanted the visitor to wait.

What came next I will not fully describe as it was not one of the more prouder moments in my life. Instead of just informing the young man that he needed to take up the issue with the other contributor and just moved him along and out of my office... words became heated. I take full responsibility for that. The dude stood his ground and fired back against any volley I made. The exchange probably lasted for no more than a couple of minutes. Again, not a moment that I am fond of due to my part of the confrontation.

No, no closure that day and the respect level certainly was not there at the moment. A couple of weeks later I run into him at the city complex. He is the last person I want to see since the run in at my office. Since it was a public place I knew that we wouldn't be revisiting what took place at the earlier occasion. Still though, I just wanted to keep my distance.

But he looks over at me and begins to say something about how he didn't write that to... and I cut him off. Basically I told him that it didn't matter, that I was over it, and even that my Dad thought his op/ed piece was entertaining (something along those lines). It was when he started to speak where he earned my respect and that put the whole thing away for me. The truth actually was though, until that moment I was still pissed. He proved to me that he was a stand up kind of person (your own mileage may vary... I'm only sharing my side of things).

Now I won't say that we became good friends or even friends at all after the entire episode ran its course. The way I viewed what followed would be akin to swimming in waters with a barracuda. I actually did snorkel one time off the Florida keys in close proximity to a real live and in the wild razor sharp toothed fish that could do plenty of damage... if provoked. Yet I learned that I could co-exist with the fish and enjoy my experience without fearing an attack. Just keep the an eye out and some distance and everything should be fine (no sudden movements). In fact that snorkeling experience would not be nearly as memorable if it wasn't for the barracuda entering my field of vision from the side about four feet away. The same thing applies to the 'Friday Columnist'.

So with all that settled down, next came some BS rumor mill talk that I was behind an effort to see to it that this young man was somehow fired from his now former place of employment. A rumor that was untrue, and even though it was untrue I still reached out to this dude and his boss letting them both know that I would never do such a thing (they both personally communicated back to me that they didn't think I would be a part of such nonsense). In fact I told people that if we really wanted to 'get rid' of him then we should be promoting him to other newspapers that pay more so that he would have incentive to leave on his own volition. Perhaps that may now have happened and is the reason he decided to move on.

Well for whatever the reason, I honestly wish him good fortune to wherever his journey takes him. It was an interesting couple of years... not good -- not bad... just interesting. I know he stumbles across this blog once in awhile and has even commented a few times (it has been appreciated).

We had a couple of more discussions since those days gone by in my office and I'm happy to say that they were fine discussions. Very civil and all that. While you may or may not like his writing style or attitude or whatever (I take issue with some of that still)... he is a nice young person with a great opportunity in front of him. I harbor no ill feelings towards him personally.

Good luck Nick.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A take on last weeks lending news...

Good review of the happenings last week.

Rate information can be found below the article. Interesting information.

A new shopping development planned...

A bit closer to Kingman even.

A California-based company is planning a 380,000-square-foot commercial center on 37 acres in the northwest Arizona community of Golden Valley.

Westar is in growth mode and constantly coming up with new projects.

All real estate is local... (local political rant included)

I have to give credit where credit is due. I can't act like I found this real estate article on my own. Frequent comment contributor Ken Herskind sent me an interesting link this morning. I've decided to do some cut and paste with the article, but really you should read the whole thing.

Article linked here
.

Housing rebound: When to spot one
Nationally, there's still a dark cloud hanging over housing. But to check the health of your local region, look for a few key clues.

By Amanda Gengler, Money Magazine writer


Title of article above and here's some bits of the article below... with commentary of course.

This is already one of the worst national housing downturns in half a century. But what's really scary is that judging from the still-huge overhang of unsold homes - one of the key indicators of the market's prospects - things could get worse. In fact, much worse if the economy slips into recession.

But real estate is a local game. Your region could be in far better shape than the country as a whole. Median prices for existing single-family homes in a third of the country's metro areas are actually higher than they were a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors.


Okay... our region is NOT in far better shape than other parts of the country but there are many interesting points that do correlate to our situation, things we most likely need to be mindful of.

Remember too that during the boom, regions moved at different times. Las Vegas and San Diego were among the first markets to take off. Boston spiked early as well, but not to the same degree.


I remember emailing back and forth with other Realtors from other parts of the country during our local 'boom' and them telling me that they were not experiencing the same things in their market. Mostly folks from the mid-west. Of course now... those same folks are not experiencing the same kind of 'crash' that we seem to be entertaining ourselves with here locally now either.

Just as cities moved independently on the way up, they're not moving in lockstep on the way down. That's why "it's more important than ever to examine what's happening in your city," says NAR president Richard Gaylord.


Yes, fine advice... even though it comes from NAR (I am a member for disclosure, but I like to play along with the folks that seem to think that NAR is part of the devil incarnate).

Our city, our market, we do have an idea as to what is happening. Personally I use the sales reports that I find on some blog that is published in Kingman to get an idea as to how many homes are selling and for what price level. It has fancy charts and stuff like that... What's that Beatrice?? Oh... that is right, I publish those charts here on this blog. Maybe the data helps you as well, but this article points to other issues that are most likely more important that some statistics.

This isn't to say that you'll be able to precisely time the market. But keeping track of a few key indicators will give you a general sense if a turnaround is near.

For starters, pay attention to changes in your local job market. The more new jobs created, the greater the demand for homes. Conversely, an uptick in unemployment - or a persistently weak labor market - can warn you a recovery may still be far away.

To me, this is the biggie as it pertains to our local market. The info above is all too self explanatory. Here are some more...

The problem in most markets today is simple: too many homes and too few buyers.


I know that I've heard this somewhere before... Beatrice?!?!

Therefore, the best signposts to look for are a significant reduction in the supply of homes and a jump in sales, says Mike Larson, a real estate analyst with Weiss Research.

But getting local data on inventory and sales isn't that simple. Your local realtors association or a competent agent should be able to provide you with basic supply and sales figures, though the type of data will vary. So be sure to ask for as much as you can: monthly inventory of homes in your area, average days on the market and total number of homes for sale.


With many local 'experts' chiming in at public meetings stating that there are thousands of unsold homes in the Kingman area, it makes me want to beg to differ with the article writer, obviously many people in our locality have inventory data (they just have the wrong data).

While we really haven't seen a significant reduction of supply, supply seems to be heading to lower numbers very... very... very slowly (that is based on the data I collect and I admit that it may not reflect each and every property available for sale in the Kingman area, but I know that my data is not off by 'thousands').

It is more than likely that sales of listings are not bringing inventory numbers down all by themselves. I see many listings expire on a monthly basis. Also many listings are simply taken off the market for a variety of reasons. Since new listings have kept up at nearly the pace they have over the last year, while sales have done the same (neither stat is what I'd consider 'good') it is obvious that other factors have contributed to the trimmed numbers of property on the market.

A telltale sign of your local market starting to heal: The rate of home-price declines should start to slow.


Sorry folks, but this telltale sign hasn't revealed itself as of yet 'round these parts.

If you start to track these figures, be patient. "You need at least three months of smaller price drops to be confident the market is really shifting, since housing numbers are really volatile and are affected a lot by the weather," says Patrick Newport, an economist with Global Insight, an economic forecasting firm.

So if you're a buyer who's looking for the best deal, wait at least that long. If you're a seller, be even more patient. That's because even if prices stabilize, they could stay low for a while. In fact, it likely will be months before prices rise again.



Really hard to argue on this one. Our market hasn't truly found a true and consistent market level since average sales prices began to plunge. Once sellers and buyers begin to speak on the same terms we'll notice a difference.

Is it cheaper to rent than to own?

Here's a useful back-of-the envelope calculation: Take the price of the type of home you want in your market. Now call around or ask your broker to see how much it would cost annually to rent a similar property in the same region. For example, if you can purchase a home for $540,000 but can rent a similar one for $36,000 a year, your so-called price-to-rent ratio would be 15.

In general, buying starts to look attractive when the P/R ratio is around 15 or lower, says Newport. (The current national average is 12.5.) As your market's P/R ratio falls, more sellers are likely to come into the market. So demand could pick up and help stabilize home prices.


I think the writer made a mistake and actually meant that more 'buyers' are likely to come into the market to help stabilize home prices.

I just grabbed a rental list from property manager extraordinaire (who is continually on a quest for world domination) Helena from the office next door to mine to see if I can find a rental that matches up with the average sale of a home in the Kingman area. Oh yes... I found one.

The average sale for a single family home back in May had 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, a 2 car garage with a bit over 1,500 square feet of living space and sold for a bit over $170,000. On the rental list I find a home similar in size that calls for a monthly rent price of $835.

$835 times 12 equals $10,020. $170,000 divided by $10,020 equals just a smidge under 17. Obviously not a number under 15.

Here is some more bad news... I occasionally ask Helena if rent prices are going up or down... or stable. Today the answer as it has been for awhile now... thumbs down.

Double whammy for our market.

Are houses more affordable?

Unless a significant percentage of households in a market can afford to buy homes there, sales won't rise. It's as simple as that. So check your region's affordability level.

The National Association of Home Builders calculates this figure - which it calls its housing opportunity index - for about 220 metro areas. The index considers a home "affordable" if no more than 28% of median family income in that area is required to pay for it.

The national average is 53.8, which means that slightly more than half of the homes purchased recently were deemed to be affordable. But again, it's not fair simply to compare local data with national averages. So if you really want to know if conditions are improving, check if your region's affordability index reading is climbing. In St. Louis, affordability has risen from 77% a year ago to 80% today.


I decided not to go the extra mile and research our local affordability level. The writer has given enough information as to where to find such info and hopefully it is available for at least Mohave County.

I just have a hunch that Kingman is not St. Louis and affordability is a greater concern than most folks around here have considered.


Now there's one more indicator you might be aware of: foreclosures. The rate of foreclosures in your region is certainly one sign of the health of your market. But this is a lagging indicator. It can sometimes take six months or more from when a homeowner first defaults to foreclosure.


Foreclosures are currently putting pressure on the falling prices... does anyone disagree?? Banks are competing with banks right now in an effort to get rid of their non-performing assets and leaving human sellers in the wake. At some point banks will compete once again with us humans but by then...

So "by the time foreclosures peak and start falling, the market will have already bottomed out and turned around," says Larson. In other words, buyers will have missed the sweet spot.


So buyers you too will have to pay attention to the market.

Yikes... none of the fundamentals covered above look all that bright in our local market.

[political rant on]...

The jobs market here is not what it once was and with so many local jobs being tied into growth and development it is easy to see how the calls for limiting growth has affected property value (even property on the sacred street of Seneca).

The hardships of a reduction in jobs, in my opinion, has led to many people trying to sell their property... leading to a surplus of inventory of homes for sale and clearly swinging the negotiating power to the side of the buyers... and it is NOT clear how many buyers are 'in' the market. Buyers are showing patience each and every month... and they are being rewarded.

The surplus of homes for sale has led to clear price concessions in order to attract whatever population of buyers that are out there. Sales prices have been falling but actual sales have not noticeably increased.

Falling prices have left some sellers in the position to try to rent out their homes instead of selling. Good for inventory of listings perhaps, but it has increased the number of rental units on the rental market. In turn we have seen fierce competition amongst landlords reducing prices and therefore keeping the cost of rents lower than the cost of ownership. It just may make sense to rent instead of purchasing at this time, depending on personal situations... that is if you are sticking around Kingman instead of looking for opportunities on other communities.

The clear lack of demand and the loss of opportunity (jobs) has also affected the ability to afford housing in many cases. It is all related folks.

All of this ends up leading to increased foreclosure activity which is never good for a community.

The local elections in 2006 were trumpeted as a clear defeat for growth related issues. So did the 2007 November special election. I know this because some in the media were cheer-leading at the time. People were inexplicably led to fear 'explosive' growth the same way that I fear explosive diarrhea.

Those of us who work for a living in this community were basically told that 'we just didn't get it'.

But Todd, but Todd... don't you remember the 'emails'?? Bullshit (sorry for the language, this post is PG-13).

But Todd, but Todd... there were grifters - pirates - and rabid animals to fear. Really.

But Todd, but Todd... we voted on the General Plan as a community. Loyalty to a document required by the state government but legally can be (and has been) changed as situations change... color me not impressed.

But Todd, but Todd... slaugherhouses, tattoo parlors, and adult bookstores. Oh my.

My guess is that some of the media folks and other community 'limit the growth' pom-pom shakers have been negatively impacted by their actions... especially as it pertains to their property value. Oh for some that won't matter as they believe they are living in the last home they will ever live in. The negative implications may finally dawn on them when the level of service they need begins to suffer or worse... when a methlab or crackhouse is two doors down on their street instead of somewhere across town (oh noes, I think I just did a scare tactic, my bad. The judge orders the jury to disregard the comment about the methlabs and crackhouses).

Does it have to be this way?? From the article...

Your region could be in far better shape than the country as a whole. Median prices for existing single-family homes in a third of the country's metro areas are actually higher than they were a year ago


No it does not have to be this way is the correct answer. Other communities are improving their situations. Kingman can as well.

If I learned anything in the couple of semesters of college it was this... how to copy. If a third of the country's metro areas are getting passing grades (I consider an increase in property value a passing grade), then we need to copy what they are doing. Doesn't matter if we copy their study habits, or their resources, or just simply grab their test off their desk and copy their answers and turn in the exam to the professor and mooch some beers off a pal after class... whatever.

We can't get expelled from this figurative classroom for copying papers. There is no professor here that would stop us so there is no real risk to take. Pick a success story or two and copy at will.

What is it that is going to attract opportunity and demand?? Welcoming those that are willing to take their own risk to make a buck or two is a great place to start. Yeah... that means having conversations with developers willing to risk real money, their money, to create opportunities for the community as well as themselves.

...[Political rant off]

I took lug-nuts for granted...

Until yesterday that is.

I served on a hearing panel in Phoenix yesterday in the early afternoon. I began my trek home back to Kingman in the early afternoon hours. As I began to exit Interstate 10 to catch the 303 loop in Phoenix my rig started to shake and shimmy. Thinking I may have a flat I pulled the vehicle off to the side of the road on the 303.

To my surprise my left rear wheel was missing a few lug-nuts and in fact the three studs were gone, completely shorn off. One other lug-nut was obviously stripped at that point and luckily there were two that were still working and after jacking up the rig and tightening both I limped into a tire service center.

I am really fortunate and lucky. The service company got me back on the road with all new studs and lug-nuts within an hour and a half and I was back on the road heading for home.

I remember telling the folks at the hearing panel that I was looking forward to watching nine innings of the All-Star baseball game last night... I managed to hear the first seven on my XM Radio then caught the remaining eight innings (game went long) at home.

Luckily I'm back and in one piece. Have to catch up on some blogging. I even heard there was some big news taking place yesterday at the Kingman Daily Miner. Maybe I'll get a chance to check that out.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

And in this corner...

You may have heard a rumor this week that there was a bit of a dust up between two city officials after the latest City Council meeting last Monday night. Well whatever you heard... you heard. I'm not here to say what DID or DIDN'T happen.

Dave Hawkins was nice enough to send me his article on what Don King might try to sell as 'The Brawl at City Hall'. Besides being a part of the best double play combination on the ball-field in Kingman, Mr. Hawkins also covers the news for radio and the weekly local newspaper The Standard. The article follows...

PHANTOM FIGHT FALSE---COUNCIL MEMBERS CLARIFY ARGUMENT
DAVE HAWKINS

They’ll probably never kiss, but they say they made up rather quickly. And Kingman City Council members Kerry Deering and Keith Walker indicate that they’re amused that a private argument between them is being portrayed through the local rumor mill as a fist fight.

"Typical Kingman," sighed Deering. "There’s just a bunch of crap going around."

"Everything has just totally been blown out of proportion," Walker concurred.

The elected officials agree that they engaged in a heated argument in the law library at City Hall, following the July 7 council meeting. But they also throw cold water on word around town that they became involved in a physical altercation.

"Keith and I were the only two in the room and we basically had a little conversation," Deering said. "We did raise our voices a little bit, but it was over. We shook hands. Things are good."

Deering’s version of events is corroborated by Walker.

"We’ve talked and everything’s fine. We left that night. We shook hands and walked away," Walker said. "This had nothing to do with city business. It had nothing to do with anything we voted on. It was just a personal issue. It got heated. We got into an argument where we raised our voices and that was about it."

Deering said he and Walker shared a few laughs that some have called Walker urging him to press charges so Deering would be expelled from office.

Sergeant Rusty Cooper said the police department is aware of the spat but is not involved in any investigation. He said, however, that the incident, because it occurred on city property and involved two city-paid individuals, is being treated as a personnel matter handled through the Mayor’s office.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

City P&Z not blowing 'hot air'...

Tuesday night the Kingman Planning and Zoning Commission made a recommendation to City Council to allow for wind-powered generators on all property sizes in the city. While this is only the first step in the process, it is more than favorable in my opinion.

Here is the article from the Miner on this one.

I'll add my two cents...

Windy debate heads to Council
Nicholas Wilbur, Miner Staff Reporter

Thursday, July 10, 2008

P&Z recommends no minimum lot sizes for turbines


Again, the action by the commission went further that I thought they would (happily).

How would you like to have a 30- to 60-foot high wind turbine in your backyard? Or, how would you like to see one in your neighbor's backyard?


In my backyard... I'd love it. In my neighbors... I'd be jealous if I didn't have one (and it would sure beat the leaves and the other things that blow off the trees and into my backyard). So count me in with the folks that would zero issues with 30 to 60 foot towers with electricity generating wind turbines affixed at the top.

The benefits of wind power aren't a secret, and nobody debated them at the hearing Tuesday - it saves water, lowers and sometimes even eliminates electricity bills and is more cost-effective than solar panels.

What's more, wind energy is going to become the norm as popularity makes the structures more affordable to the average citizen, and all seemed to agree that getting out ahead of the trend would work in the community's favor.


The next home that I buy (in Kingman) will have a wind turbine in the backyard (that is unless some new fangled contraption is developed by the time I think I'm ready to buy a different home). A home that comes with reduced utility bills will be worth more on the market than a home with more traditional utility bills (especially in the summer time when it is normally hot and the air conditioner becomes quite a cost to run in order just to be comfortable in your own home).

Several commissioners were hesitant about the move, but when Matt Ladendecker pointed out they had heard zero opposition, the commission voted unanimously to recommend that Council approve the policy at its upcoming meeting.

"I don't see a huge problem with having a half-acre lot on here instead of one, and again, if ascetics are not a concern for the general public, then I don't see a problem," he said.

Commissioner Mike Schoeff, although not personally in favor of seeing a turbine in his neighbor's backyard, seconded Ladendecker's view. "If aesthetics are not a concern, then let's not go to minimum lot size on it. If that's not anybody else's issue, then why restrict the size of the lots?" Supporters whooped and hollered and a round of applause broke out as he spoke.


Reading this brings a smile to my face.

According to Development Services Director Gary Jeppson's research, ordinances governing wind energy systems in Lake Havasu City and Bullhead City allow turbines only on one-acre-minimum lots.


Good opportunity to show leadership on this. The other communities may have the shopping and other revenue generating issues under control, but Kingman can at least show some important leadership on this issue. Success has to start somewhere.

Read the whole article.

June Sales Report (2008)

First half of the year is over. In terms of unit sales, the first half of 2008 is the worst in terms of performance since I began to track data on a monthly basis. Although I don't have all the data from all of the years in this decade... it is not a stretch to guess that this first half of the year has been the worst of the decade.

You gotta like that... I jumped straight in with the bad news. No sugar coating here. No 'Realtor Spin'. Nothing.

Also worth noting... June of 2007 saw the highest average sale figure for any month since I began to track this data. As you will see on the charts... we are slipping off the charts very quickly.

As a bonus this month I will report on the foreclosure impact on sales. Look for it somewhere after 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:

Production slipped compared to the previous two months this year, but is no worse than it was last year. Listings are trending down at a slightly steeper angle than sales figures but not enough to bring these lines together anytime soon. Really... more of the same as it has been for some time now.

Average listings and sales averages chart:


Both lines are trending dramatically lower over the last year, however (and this is bad news in my opinion) average sales figures are actually trending at a lower rate than are new listings. This clearly tells me that sellers are simply not being aggressive enough with their price offering and buyers are still waiting for the right priced property to make an offer on.

Sellers really need to consider their offering price for 90 days down the road, instead of 90 days ago.

2005 through 2008 unit sales chart:


With the exception of the first two months this year, the production numbers are swimming along nicely... WITH THE WORST YEAR IN TERMS OF PRODUCTION (since I've been keeping track). Nothing to get all that excited about really. In some ways I'm beginning to feel that the production numbers from all of last year and up to this point are 'normal'. I know that 2005 was NOT normal and it is silly to compare this years production to 2005.

2005 through 2008 average price chart:


Here we will compare the average sales price for June of 2008 against June of 2005, and it is clear that once again the average sales price is below the 2005 level. I have a hunch that the light blue line representing 2008 will look a bit lonely as the next six months start to go by.

If we compare the average price in June of 2007 to June of this year you will see that the figure has fallen 27%. While there was no change to the production numbers year over year, the average price took a huge beating.

What do you think?? Will it correct more or are we bottoming out??

2005 through 2008 median price chart:


The median price fell 27.2% as compared to June of 2007.

The price range of units sold for June of 2008 was from $30,000 to $377,400

Average SFR statistics:

The average home sold in June had 3.04 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a 2.06 car garage, included 1,632 square feet of living space, and was built in 1996. The average hold sold for an average of $105 per square foot of living space.

It took an average of 109 days of marketing to attract a buyer to come to an agreement and a total of 143 days from the first day of marketing to the close of escrow.

Sellers reduced price $15,359 to attract a buyer on average from the first day of marketing, and conceded another $12,021 to the buyer in the transaction. The total average price concession for the homes sold in May was $27,380 (13.82% total reduction).

Bonus Charts:


The average price per square foot fell 21.5% as compared to the year before.


Foreclosure Impact:

I just began to track the foreclosure listings and sales a few months ago, so no fancy charts to share... just raw data.

In terms of units sold, of the 50 sales reported for June -- 16 were listed as foreclosed on (32% of units sold).

The price range of foreclosed units sold for June was from $30,000 up to $325,000.

The average price of foreclosed units sold for June was $149,425 (12.5% lower than the overall June figure).

The median price of foreclosed units sold for June was $129,000.

The average foreclosure home sold in June had 3.13 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a 1.875 car garage, included 1,573 square feet of living space, and was built in 1996. The average hold sold for an average of $95 per square foot of living space. Owners of foreclosed on homes conceded 13.2% off the initial offering price.

I hope this foreclosure data was helpful. If you like it I will continue to offer it with the normal stuff for at least as long as the foreclosures are having the kind of impact on the market that they seem to be having right now.

One half of the year down... one half to go. The race is on to see if 2008 can eclipse the lame production figures of 2007. See you next time.

Ouch...

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Heads up (local) Realtors

I sometimes pride myself on being observant. Well today I first observed that our MLS vendor has updated the WARDEX site so that it can be used on the Firefox browser. Now I don't know how long this has been available on Firefox, but today is day number one for me. I consider it big news (maybe you've been using WARDEX on Firefox for weeks now, I'm slow to react to things that go in my favor at times).

I love it for one simple reason... one less reason to use Internet Explorer. Thank goodness.

Hooray beer!!

How about shopping in Havasu??

All right... we've covered the new Target and Kohl's shopping center in Bullhead City enough (for awhile at least). Yes we still see folks make comments in the paper or whatever about how these commercial centers detract from the character of the town and provide jobs that only pay a pittance.

So lets now take a look at a different community IN Mohave County and what the folks there have to say about their new retail commercial center located in Lake Havasu City.

Normally I link the article I'm taking information from. In this case I can't do that other than for this link here. The article comes from this months Economic Development Journal/Mohave County (article written by Regina G. Purcell). Yes, they have a website (I've linked to it) but in this case their paper version is much easier to read. You can pick one up in many places around town. We have them here at the office where I practice real estate.

The article's title is 'Wal-Mart Super Center newest anchor store at new open-air mall in Lake Havasu'. Now I realize that Wal-Mart won't excite the folks here in Kingman like perhaps a Target would. We already have our own Super Wal-Mart, and life is well... super because of it, right??

Anyway here's a few bits from the article...

According to Lake Havasu City officials, the 150-acre Shops at lake Havasu is projected to generate $3.7 million in transaction privilege (city sales) tax annually and once the large mall is fully developed and all of its store are in operation, the cmmercial outlets in the outdoor mall will collectively employ in the neighborhood of 2,000 new jobs.


Lets just play devil's advocate for a second, lets say the projected sales taxes are off by half, the city of Havasu would still rake in nearly $2 million dollars a year. Not bad.

While some will say that the 2,000 jobs will be of the low paying variety, it is possible that these jobs will help bring other employers (with higher paying jobs) to the area. This new commercial center improves the amenities of Lake Havasu City and therefore this has the possiblity of making their community more attractive to other opportunities. Plus, no matter how you slice it, just knowing that there is 2,000 employees at a mall has to be attractive to any new employer thinking of moving to the area. While retail jobs aren't normally career choices, they tend to be proving grounds for employees. Good employees often end up in better jobs because they've developed the skills need to prove their worthiness to employers looking for a better skilled employee.

Anderson Chrysler Jeep & Dodge in Lake Havasu broke ground in May on its new 38-acre auto mall, the first-ever in Mohave County. The first of several auto dealerships that will go into the auto mall is Anderson Toyota, which will occupy a 45,000 square-foot facility and showroom. Some of the additional auto dealerships may come from outside Mohave County.


Hey... isn't Anderson Toyota currently in Kingman?? Didn't I buy two brand new Toyota's there within the last 5 years?? Didn't a portion of the final sales price end up being sales tax collected by the City of Kingman??

And... if additional auto dealerships are to come from outside Mohave County, doesn't that mean that new commercial development attracts new capital investment into the area?? Yes... I think it does Martha.

With the estimated cost of the Anderson Toyota dealership building in the $6 Million range, together with the value of all of the land that is being developed for the auto mall, the entire commercial investment by the Anderson group in Lake Havasu is in the neighborhood of $20 million.


Seems like lots of money trading hands locally to me. Sure could use some transactions like that around our neck of the woods.

Lastly...

This fall, Ultrastar Cinemas, a 10-screen movie theater and Michaels Arts & Crafts store will open, Martin said. There are also seven out parcels of land available, which will likely house banks and fast-food restaurants.


Hey wait a minute... no fair!! Havasu already has a multiplex for catching first run movies.

You know for an article with the title of Wal-Mart in the header... there wasn't much talk of Wal-Mart at all. Plenty on new auto-dealers, retail business, new banks, a theater, and eating establishments though.

(confirmed tennants listed in the article appear to be: Wal-Mart, JC Penney, Dillards, Kay Jewelers, Amercian Eagle Outfitters, C.J. Banks, Christopher & Banks, Famous Footwear, Styles for Less, Bath & Body Works, and Victoria's Secret)

Well... that is how the other folks are livin' these days. Just thought you should know.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Who will pay??

I can't say that I'm surprised. In today's article from the Miner there is a bit about how 'impact fees' won't be enough to guarantee enough income to pay the city's portion of the many years out Interstate project known as Rattlesnake Wash.

From the article...

Fortunately, the city is responsible for only 30 percent of the project, about $11 million of the approximately $35-million interchange project. The state is picking up the majority of the tab.

Unfortunately, the city's impact fee revenue totaled only $1.7 million through June 30, an amount comprising incomes since the fees were implemented in 2006. The transportation portion of those revenues - the part that legally could be used to pay for the traffic interchange - sits at a two-year total of $756,839.

Based on the past two years' income, the city wouldn't be able to pay its share of Rattlesnake Wash using impact fees until 2037.


While it may be fortunate that the state is picking up $24 million dollars... and Mohave County is putting $2 million dollars aside to help Kingman pay for the needed infrastructure... this is only phase one of a two phase project. Kingman is on its own for another $11 million dollars or so for that 'evacuation route' as some have called it that leads south from RW to Hualapai Mountain Road.

More...

If Kingman does not have its share of the costs for Rattlesnake Wash by 2013, the project will be canceled. There are several other options available, including revenue bonds, community facilities districts and other cost-sharing avenues available to the city, all of which will be explored for the two projects, (Mayor John) Salem said.


So... who will pay??

It would interesting to see if the hopeful solution comes down to revenue bonds. I mean some very interested people in Kingman were against the bonds on the ballot last year, but revenue bonds for this project won't likely meet the same resistance from those same folks since this project is so close to property and interests they own.

The campaign signs put up for last Novembers special election had the word 'NO' all over them, my guess is that if the hopeful solution is passing a bond or two for funding that the signs will be strewn with plenty of 'YES'... maybe even the words 'pretty please'.

The bottom line though is that this project is NEEDED for our growing community (for such things as improved public access connecting other parts of Kingman, for improved commercial access to the airport, and to help the natural progression of growth along the Interstate and towards the east side of Kingman). This is a very important future project and along with expansion of the city boundaries, the community should be looking at realistic ways to make the proposed infrastructure a reality. Hopefully a CFD, improvement district, or other forms of development agreements can be worked out with the private property owners to a large degree.

At this point, as of this day... I have to believe the property owners at both proposed new interchanges will have to pony up and front major portions of the costs. I'm in favor of reasonable reimbursement options out of new commercial sales tax revenues created at developments. Maybe even some kind of additional charge (like impact fees) on any new residential developments in the areas and thereby passing costs to reimburse on to the new residents of the developments.

The time to be creative is right now.

See another good article about impact fees right here.

UPDATE:

Our good buddy, Ken Herskind, had an interesting bit to offer from the article linked at the top. You can read the entire thing there but I wanted to share this...

If the 168 acres are rezoned commercial and the interchange put in for Kingman Crossing, the PEOPLE would stand to receive TENS OF MILLIONS of dollars which can be used for other needed services and infrastructure....ALL WITHOUT RAISING OUR TAXES A DIME.

So, I personally would like to see both interchanges, but the people of Kingman have a vested interest in Kingman Crossing.


Yep, and while a few of us were trying to make that point last year... our voices were drowned out by folks with other interests that were more for their own personal interest instead of the community interests. The new council has to take a firmer grasp of all the issues surrounding the Kingman resident owned 168 acres near Kingman Crossing. It really isn't difficult to manage this incredible asset in order for the entire community to benefit.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Birthday America





IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.


Do indeed enjoy our great holiday. Please be safe. From all your friends here at MOCO, God Bless and let freedom ring.

** A MOCO RE News Alert **

MOCO RE News is updating an earlier news alert. Weather conditions expected today include very breezy conditions. The Yahoo Weather Forecast for Kingman says to expect winds between 15 and 25 miles per hour for most of the day.

Experts indicate that it is okay to be outdoors in such conditions but people should be reminded to use lip balm to avoid chapped lips that often occur in dry and windy conditions.

For other ideas as to how to react and perhaps even improve your quality of life under these conditions, readers are asked to click on this link and watch the demonstration.

Once again, this has been a MOCO RE News alert... now back to our regular scheduled programming.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Got my scissors... out

Yep, once again, it is that time again. Time for those scissors to get some use in response to something I saw posted online. This occasion comes from a post from the Mayor's blog regarding the subject matter that I pointed to yesterday.

A reminder... I'm not writing the following as a personal attack against the author or anyone else. I'm merely exercising my right to perhaps disagree a little.

The victim here... is actually a person that occasionally joins the discussion here at MOCO. This person is someone that I think is friendly and means well and I have no ax to grind with him on anything.

Here goes...

Posted: Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Article comment by: Loyd

Here we go again.


When I read the words 'here we go again' I hear Chuck D's voice in Public Enemy's song called 'Bring the Noise' and now that tune will be stuck in my head for the remainder of the day.

But yes Loyd, here we go again...

Les Byram and the prior council sent a very clear message to the V & V group that they should make their presentations and proposals at "PUBLIC" meetings where Kingman residents could field questions and bring clarity and understanding to this project.


The V & V group is code for the development company named Vestar and the private property ownership group Vanderbilt Farms.

The funny thing here is... the V & V group has held many public meetings and have presented much of what they plan to develop. As far as the 'proposals' are concerned... a very large public outcry shouted the V & V group down all last summer. The land owners and developers could have promised to pave all the roads in Kingman gold for free last year and they still would have been met with loud opposition.

Let us not forget that last summer it was all the rage to be against any new project that involved Kingman Crossing. We had the email controversy, we had the community group RAID speaking out against conditioning the Kingman resident owned property for highest and best use, and we had others trying to have us believe that the V & V group was out to steal all of our sales tax dollars. Man... those were goooood times.

It is indeed interesting that they sat back and waited until a "New Council" was seated and then again came to the city hall back door with another of their "Presentations".


Funny... I see it as 'Old Council' washed their hands of the mess once the special election last November was over and as many in the community told us that the elections result was an indicator that 'Old Council' was nothing more than a 'lame duck'. 'Old Council' must have agreed as not one city official up for possible re-election bothered to, while an unprecedented amount of citizens actually did pull in the required petition signatures to run for those positions.

I'm not surprised one bit that the V & V group wanted to meet with the new mayor and council as it was more than obvious they weren't getting anywhere with the 'Old Council'.

Not speaking for R.A.I.D., but they should be more than happy to sponsor one of their "Town Hall Meetings" to address the Kingman Crossing issue.


I wouldn't mind seeing such a town hall event like that myself... but I don't think it should be a requirement in any way shape or form. IF there is a proposal made (someday), each member of RAID will get his or her chance to speak in public and lend their support or criticism to such a proposal. The key to all of this is to allow an actual proposal to reveal itself... not something that was allowed at all last year.

To bring Kingman Crossing into reality is probably going to require the participation of all concerned – V & V, the city, property owners in the interchange vicinity and probably the voters and residents of Kingman. If V & V chooses to exclude any stakeholder from the process, then a result similar to history's recent lesson will likely just be replayed.


(emphasis mine)

Well since it is a FACT that ALL citizens of Kingman are property owners of a nice parcel of land in the interchange vicinity... and any agreement the city is pondering is up for public debate... I can't see how ANY stakeholder in the area is going to be excluded.

As far as the recent history lesson is concerned... I doubt it ever gets replayed. Amazing what one bad year on the economy makes. Think about it. Some of the very folks that spoke out against Kingman Crossing last year are publicly stating that they are FOR more than one interchange because those public infrastructure projects equal growth, growth equals opportunity, opportunity equals cold hard cash. There simply aren't as many people willing to side with the 'save the sacred street of Seneca' folks any longer.

One more year of having to deal with traffic on Stockton Hill. One more year of having to go many miles out of the way to get to a place one could throw a rock at and hit before departing. One more year of expensive gas prices. One more year of jobs leaving the area. One more year of young people leaving the community for opportunities elsewhere.

Yep... there was a history lesson in there last year... but I don't think it really was what Loyd thinks it is.

C'mon Mr. Mayor – let's get it all out on the table and into the light. Lead – don't be a peddler - you are after all, the Mayor, not an ambassador. Invite, if you must, but have them come to the public input table, not the city hall back door.


Loyd WAS right 'cause here we do go again. Give me a break with the 'back door' gobbly-goo. The mayor blogged about the meeting with the V & V group for Pete's sake. If any person had ANY issue concerning the city... one of the first places they should feel welcome at is the mayor's office. The mayor has been elected by the voters of this city to represent the people of this city. No better place to start.

Now that we are asking the city to treat everyone equally... then we should treat everyone equally. If Loyd has an issue, I bet he heads to see the mayor... and what do you know... I'd do the same thing. It shouldn't surprise anyone that when the V & V group has an issue that they, too, go see the mayor.

There is no 'back door' to the mayor's office. Not when Mr. Byrum held the office and not with Mr. Salem at the helm (and I didn't vote for either but I still totally can respect the job that both did/do).

I don't see the harm in allowing ANY one person or interested party to begin discussions with the very people that us voters in Kingman elected. In fact it is what I expect the mayor and other elected officials to exactly do.

Read the infamous emails again, I dare you. Find where there was any proof of a true 'back door' deal in place for the Kingman Crossing project. You won't find it.

The city tried to change a land use designation on the resident owned property and the elected leaders passed it with the required votes needed AT A PUBLIC MEETING. Then some citizens didn't like it and put the issue on the ballot for a special election and the PUBLIC VOTED. The city council asked the voters for persmission to possibly sell Kingmans best asset, and the VOTING PUBLIC turned the request down.

There was a email conversation about a stupid idea that wondered if the city could 'blight' the resident owned property... but a city employee had stated in a responding email that the city council would have to make that declaration and last time I checked city council meets to discuss issues IN PUBLIC. That one never even made it to a meeting... because it was an idiotic suggestion in the first place.

I think we all remember the bit about the V & V group wanting to 'freeze' out any other commercial development on the Kingman resident owned 168 acres across the Interstate from their property. Remember the stir that caused?? How ironic then that it would be the voters of Kingman that fundamentally 'froze' out the resident owned property when they voted to not allow the city council to sell any part of the property. Since that day I haven't seen or heard one city council member (past or present) suggest selling any part of that land. It is, for all intents and purposes, 'frozen'.

The good news is that all major parties to this 'back door' paranoia are no longer under the employ of the fine citizens that live in the city of Kingman. It is more than time for the process to begin again. It begins at the city complex no matter how you slice it. It certainly doesn't start at a Rotary Club meeting or for that matter a RAID meeting.

They need to sell us - we don't have to sell Kingman - it's already one of the best.


They need the opportunity to sell us, something they never got last year. Never - never - never. As a citizen of Kingman myself, I'd love nothing more than to see, hear, read a proposal that would ultimatley mean an improvement in public infrastrucure, more sales tax opportunity, more retail and commercial space aligned off the Interstate, job opportunity, and community enhancement.

Who is going to get in the way this time when all of the above is now a clear need??

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Mayor wants your input...

Before I begin... I have to say that I am impressed with our new Mayor and his blogging skills. His blog on the Kingman Daily Miners website is worth frequenting.

Today I find that he submitted some words about that old cantankerous issue known as 'KINGMAN CROSSING'.

Go here.

Give him some feedback.

(I have to say that it is a pretty good feeling finally being able to link to other local blogs)

commenting is on hold...

Something is up with the vendor that I use for comments. Hopefully the issue will be resolved shortly.

Thanks

UPDATE

Comments seem to be working again, Hey!!