Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tea time again...

Just as a friendly public service announcement, it is Tea Party time again here in the Kingman area. This event will be held at Centennial Park in Kingman on Saturday July 4th from 4:00pm to 7:00pm. Find more information here at this link.

A couple of days ago in Nashville Tennessee, I guess those folks just couldn't wait for their tea, check out the photo below...

Not bad, certainly a goodly amount of people.

Last time the Tea Party was held in Kingman, the local editor of the local daily wrote a column that basically called Tea Party attendees racists (for lack of a better word). I took him to task on this blog for his transgression here.

Attending the Nashville Tea Party...


(all photos found at Instapundit.com)

... were just some of the great Americans that attended and let their thoughts be known.

And really that is what the Tea Parties are all about. Americans letting the government know they are on notice. This isn't about the skin color of the president. At this point, my criticism is mostly for the republicans in our state legislature and executive office for not cutting enough spending of money they simply don't have at the moment... basically for not being the fiscal conservatives that many say they are. The race thing though, just completely stupid and not even on the map as an important issue for the current times we face.

Yeah, you could say that I'm still kinda pissed off about what the editor wrote back in April... and he still owes great Americans an apology.

One prediction, there won't be any snow flurries on Saturday (like there was on April 15th), so dress accordingly -- I'll be taking photos with the intention of posting them on this blog.

For more reading about the local Tea Party, check out Loyd's blog (yeah, that Loyd) today.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Another buyer assistance program for foreclosure homes

I meant to post something about this last week, after Evan from the Bullhead City Blog put up his post on the subject. Well, I'm getting around to it.

See for yourself, see for yourselfers.

Copied from Evans blog...

Keep in mind these terms are specific to the Arizona Department of Housing program in Mohave County, which may be different that those programs offered throughout the state by various partners.

I want to emphasize that, yes, this is a loan. But it’s a second loan with no payments, so it is not factored into qualifying for the purchase. Say you have a purchase price of $100,000 with 3.5% down payment ($3,500). Your first loan would be $74,5000 ($100,000 minus $22,000 second, minus $3,500 down payment). Your payments would be based on that $74,500.

There is no payment and no interest on the $22,000 second. Should you own the home for 10 years, the second loan is forgiven. If you sell the home sooner, you will owe the $22,000, but with no interest.

This program makes it easier for people to qualify and afford a home, while at the same time encouraging the sale of foreclosures thereby putting those homes back in the hands of humans who will occupy the home instead of leaving them vacant while they sit on the books of banks across the country.

Link to the YourWayHomeAZ site.

Also, Evan and I will be recording our next podcast tomorrow. If you have any subjects that you'd like us to discuss drop a line in the comments or email me.

The guessing keep on coming...

Just a quick little article that I found about a couple of writers that have done some research on the value of homes in the future (2012 time frame).

Check it out, check it outers.

Here is a bit from the closest market they make a prediction for...

9. Arizona
Metro: Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale
What a Home Will Be Worth in 2012: $141,859
Q4 2008 price: $169,000
Projected price change by MSA: -16.1%
Projected price change by state: -17.2%

Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale is one of the worst-hit housing markets in the country. Retirees, empty-nesters, and others flocked to the area during the boom for its warm weather, relative affordability, and recreational opportunities. And so did builders. Many of the new homes built during the boom have since been repossessed.

My prediction?? Only that predictions will continue to come rolling in... and at some point someone will claim they were right. Clearly out on a limb there, aren't I??

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Political example of efforts to induce economic development...

Link right here to a WSJ piece. I'm copying bits of it (more like all of it) below and adding some commentary...

At last, there's a place in America where tax cutting to promote growth and attract jobs is back in fashion. Who would have thought it would be Maine?

This month the Democratic legislature and Governor John Baldacci broke with Obamanomics and enacted a sweeping tax reform that is almost, but not quite, a flat tax.

Dude... what has got into the dem's in Maine?? Sort the way I wonder what has gotten into the republican's here in Arizona... for the wrong and opposite reasons.

The new law junks the state's graduated income tax structure with a top rate of 8.5% and replaces it with a simple 6.5% flat rate tax on almost everyone. Those with earnings above $250,000 will pay a surtax rate of 0.35%, for a 6.85% rate. Maine's tax rate will fall to 20th from seventh highest among the states. To offset the lower rates and a larger family deduction, the plan cuts the state budget by some $300 million to $5.8 billion, closes tax loopholes and expands the 5% state sales tax to services that have been exempt, such as ski lift tickets.

Without even looking into the data, the exchange of reduced income tax for the ability of closing sales tax loopholes is an easy compromise. Throw in a healthy budget cut to boot... again brought to the residents of Maine by the 'left' side of the political aisle.

This is a big income tax cut, especially given that so many other states in the Northeast and East -- Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York -- have been increasing rates. "We're definitely going against the grain here," Mr. Baldacci tells us. "We hope these lower tax rates will encourage and reward work, and that the lower capital gains tax [of 6.85%] brings more investment into the state."

I may be switching my political affiliation, would be easier than moving to Maine (no offense Maine, I just like the western part of the lower 48 better).

These changes alone are hardly going to earn the Pine Tree State the reputation of "pro-business." Neighboring New Hampshire still has no income or sales tax. And last year Maine was ranked as having the third worst business climate for states by the Small Business Survival Committee. Still, no state has improved its economic attractiveness more than Maine has this year.

Political leaders of Arizona should be embarrassed.

Now for the money quote...

One question is how Democrats in Augusta were able to withstand the cries by interest groups of "tax cuts for the rich?" Mr. Baldacci's snappy reply: "Without employers, you don't have employees." He adds: "The best social services program is a job." Wise and timely advice for both Democrats and Republicans as the recession rolls on and budgets get squeezed.

Only a 2x4 upside the head hits harder.

I wish Maine much success and fortune. Obviously I hope that the federal government takes notice, as well as the state of Arizona and most importantly that the elected leaders of Kingman take note of the fundamentals. Face it folks, 'Shop Here!' doesn't pack the same sort of wallop.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Ord, Nebraska is trying...

A small rural town in the mid-west has hired someone for a tall order job, check this out found in the Atlantic...

On a recent cross country road trip, I stopped in Ord, Nebraska, where I interviewed Caleb T. Pollard, a 29 year old man charged with bringing young professionals, businesses, and even tourists to a rural town hours from the Interstate.

TWO HOURS from the Interstate??!! Sounds like a tall order...

The goal is for Ord, population 2,269, to avoid the fate of certain other Midwestern communities: a dearth of young people, a steady population decline, a hollowing of downtown, a flight of the professional and creative classes to the big city.

Feel free to read the rest of the blog, or even following along with the follow ups promised by the author.

The point here is that rather tiny Ord, a place I never heard of (as far as I know not featured in a song about a road cutting through the country), has taken a chance to bring more economic activity to the community. If you do read further on the blog linked you might like or not like the idea that the young man hired by Ord, Nebraska is undertaking to draw interest to a less than 3,000 person community.

Again, the point here is... at least they are trying and getting some covereage for the attempt.

Don't need lights while hiding in a shell...

My Dad used to raise his voice at me when I left the hall light on. No... not quite the Fathers Day tribute for my pops or anything, but it was one of the first things that hit me when I read this...

2 towns turning off street lights to save money

Associated Press - June 20, 2009 10:45 AM ET

RINDGE, N.H. (AP) - Officials in two New Hampshire towns are turning off some street lights to save money.

Pink ribbons on 16 utility poles around Rindge mark the lights that will go dark. In Jaffrey, selectmen last week approved shutting off 70 streetlights as a way to cut back on utility costs. The town also will convert to lower-energy bulbs in the lights that are staying on.

Officials in both towns tell The Keene Sentinel they expect to turn the lights off by early next month.

Jaffrey plans to review the decision in six months to make sure they haven't created any safety hazards.

The other thing that hit me when I read the above is that this is what it probably looks like when the advice of hiding in a shell wins the day.

Might need to drum up an economic development post in the days ahead, where lights (and other services) aren't as threatened.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I'm back...

... but I already want to go back. If you get the chance, ever... Whistler, British Columbia, Canada... is nice <--- (that is a severe understatement).

My wife is already posting photos on Facebook, meanwhile I look forward to catching up on email and the latest and greatest that always seems to happen when I leave town for a few days.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

May Sales Report (2009)

I have my mind on an upcoming vacation and am otherwise distracted, so this might be the shortest sales report so far. Numbers are not spectacular in any one direction or the other but it is time to review them... after the disclaimer of course...

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:

Maybe next month we will see these lines switch place... for a much needed change. If you read the Listings report earlier this month faint views of a more balanced market are appearing. More sales, along with limited new listings, could make this happen over the summer months. Stay tuned.

Average listings and sales averages chart:

Still not confident about this chart as these data lines need to be closer together... and I'm not expecting the red line to head north.

2006 through 2009 unit sales chart:

As you can see, the numbers so far in 2009 are ahead of the pace compared to the previous two years. This is in response to buyers being attracted to more attractive, and affordable, prices. Numbers would certainly look even better if there was more economic activity taking place in Kingman right now.

Sales in units are up 10% compared to May of 2008.

2006 through 2009 average price chart:

The trend still shows that prices are falling in 2009, but not at the same rate we saw last year. Falling towards a bottom, perhaps... as long as mortgage rates don't increase erasing the buying power of potential buyers.

The average price fell by a rate of 32.6% as compared to May of 2008.

2006 through 2009 median price chart:

Basically the same trend here, trending down but at a slower pace than in 2008.

The median price is off 34% from the same month in 2008.

Final sales prices in May of 2009 ranged from $19,900 to $379,900.

Average SFR statistics:

Data tables for all sales tracked in May 2009

Price Data
ItemMay. '09
Average Price per Unit Sold $114,793
Median Price per Unit Sold $97,200
Average Price per Square Foot $75

House Data
Item May. '09
Ave Living Space per Square Foot 1,530
Year Built 1993

Marketing Data
ItemMay. '09
Days on Market to Contract 95
Days on Market to Close 134
Price Reductions on Market $18,044
Negotiated Price Concessions $4,416
Total Price Concessions $22,460
Total Percent Conceded

Bonus Charts:

As stated in an earlier post this month, the negotiated price reduction average is trending lower... meaning that listings are being reduced by sellers to a level closer to eventual market price.

Foreclosure Impact:

Again, basically 60% of the sales in May were on foreclosed bank owned property.

Traditional Seller vs. Bank Owned sales comparison for May 2009

Price Data
ItemTraditional Seller
Bank Owned
Total Units Sold in Month
Average Price per Unit Sold $142,987$94,761
Median Price per Unit Sold $139,900$79,900
Average Price per Square Foot $93$62

House Data
Item Traditional SellerBank Owned
Ave Living Space per Square Foot 1,5361,526
Year Built 19991989

Marketing Data
ItemTraditional Seller Bank Owned
Days on Market to Contract 13170
Days on Market to Close 177104
Price Reductions on Market $20,124$16,567
Negotiated Price Concessions $6,874$2,668
Total Price Concessions $26,998$19,235
Total Percent Conceded15.9%

Wrap Up:

Plenty of separation between sold prices for bank owned properties and traditional sellers, about 34% difference. Also the average time to attract a buyer willing to enter negotiations is over two months, advantage bank owned. Still screams that price is everything in this market... the better the price... the quicker the sale.

You may draw your own conclusions when looking at this data... meanwhile I have to dust off my hiking shoes as I prepare for a flight to Vancouver, British Columbia and a nice scenic drive to Whistler.

I'll be at a local Canadian sports bar on Friday night catching game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals, hopefully surrounded by fans of the sport. I'm saying go Red Wings.

I'll also be celebrating my 8th wedding anniversary with my incredible wife while away. My gift to her is no complaining about hiking on the vacation... but I'm sure I'll try my best to get away for a fishing expedition or a round of golf at some point.

See you next month for the next installment of the latest Sales Report.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Property rights threatened again... (Shocked?? Nope)

When you read this here article from the SunSentinel.com (think Florida) you may find that you are initially thinking, "hey, that sounds like an okay idea." I mean I did for like a nanosecond.

It appears that the federal government is considering using vacant foreclosed homes as temporary shelter for victims of hurricanes, if needed, this upcoming storm season.

Here are some bits from the article...

If a major hurricane strikes Florida, authorities may take advantage of the foreclosure crisis to place displaced residents in vacant homes seized by banks.

Ruben Almaguer, interim director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, has proposed that the Federal Emergency Management Agency use foreclosed homes — which are particularly abundant in this state — as an alternative to placing people in trailers or scattering them around the country.

"Historically, no one has ever used foreclosed properties," Almaguer said. "If they have 1,000 foreclosed properties in the area, why not?

Why not?? For starters the property does not belong to the federal government. Foreclosed properties are still private property, and at least for now there is a bundle of rights that adhere to the owners of property.

"It may be cheaper, especially if they have to drive a trailer down from Kansas. The cost of driving that down, setting it up, now they've got to connect water, sewer, electricity, get permits pulled for it. That's resolved when you already have in place a fixed property. And what happens a month later when the second hurricane comes through the same area? Would you rather be in a foreclosed home or a travel trailer? I'd rather be in a foreclosed home."

FEMA released a noncommittal statement Wednesday describing the option as one of many "what-ifs" that could be considered in a catastrophe and stating that currently there is no such policy in place.

Sure... sounds dandy. Why not save the federal government a buck or two?? But then again, why is the federal government even in this game in the first place?? Oh that's right, bailing out poor decision making is all the rage these days.

States and local governments, not the federal government, should address potential problems such as these. Oops... looks like the local government there likes the idea too...

Chuck Lanza, Broward's emergency management director, said the idea was worth exploring. Unlike foreclosed homes, trailers would take time to get to where they're needed.

"If we have houses we could move people in quickly," he said. "To us to have extra houses would be great. It makes a lot of sense to have those houses on hand."

Only problem... Broward County does not own the property.

It's unclear whether banks would have any enthusiasm for placing storm refugees in homes they're trying to sell. Alex Sanchez, president of the Florida Bankers Association, said the proposal sounds good in theory but faces several obstacles.

Banks would probably find enthusiasm for helping out if they were paid for the trouble.

If hurricane victims are placed in the house before the title is transferred, who would get the rent payments, he asked, the debtor who defaulted on the mortgage?

Although banks don't particularly want to go into the rental property business, he said, they would want to do their share in an emergency.

"After a hurricane, we want to help," he said. "If the house is livable and the house is vacant, it's the compassionate thing to do. Why not put a Florida family in it for a transition stage?"

Ultimately, however, he said, "We want to get that house back into productive use by a Florida family who will buy it and get that community happy again with a family back in the house."

Said the right things. Compassion is fine and all, but the property is still owned by a private entity and rights should still hold sway. If a bank wants to help, that is up to them, not the government.

Nancy Norris, Florida spokeswoman for JPMorgan Chase, said she couldn't say yet whether the bank would be interested. But she said it takes care of its houses.

"Yes we do have a lot of homes now in our possession because they're in foreclosure. We are actively trying to resell these homes, so we take every precaution to make sure they're protected from hurricanes and from vandals. We treat it just as if we are homeowners, because we are homeowners."

Property owners with rights, she should have said (but in this politically correct world we live in this is the best answer, unfortunately).

Isabel Ulrich, 70, who lived in a FEMA trailer after Hurricane Frances devastated her house in West Palm Beach, said her temporary home actually was very nice.

"It had everything," she said. "A bedroom, a nice kitchen, a microwave. I was very satisfied."

And as a former landlord, she said she worried that hurricane refugees would trash private homes.

"I don't think it's a good idea to put people in houses," she said. "They'll ruin the houses. There's not much to ruin in a trailer."

Truth hurts, and in actuality I'd be willing to bet that the federal government (or state or local governments) would likely pony up even more money to the property owners for repairs than if they shipped a trailer down from Kansas. That is, if the governments actually gave a crap about property rights in the first place and agreed to fix the damage (not caused by a hurricane), which is questionable at best these days.

The proposal came on Wednesday, the day U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D- Miramar, sent a letter to FEMA complaining of a "lack of quality housing" for hurricane victims, particularly poor ones.

Hate to sound cold, but why is that my problem here in Arizona?? People, even poor people, don't have to live near the coast in Florida (you know, like where hurricanes sometimes cause destruction of private property).

State emergency chief Almaguer said he understands the proposal to use foreclosed homes has legal and financial challenges.

LOL... legal challenges?? You mean like throwing out the bundle of rights that come with private property?? Property rights are dying... and WE ARE ALL REALLY GOING TO MISS THEM.

But Hurricane Katrina showed that when people leave an area for temporary housing, they often don't come back.

But shouldn't that be the choice of the individual?? I mean if I owned a home that was destroyed by a hurricane I'd think long and hard about whether or not to rebuild the structure on my property. Maybe I would, maybe I wouldn't. That is on me, the individual, to weigh the risks involved.

If the government is so concerned about people staying in place... perhaps they'd instead take on the task to defeat hurricanes before they strike and cause damage. You bet, an impossibility as Mom Nature does whatever she wants to do on any given day.

More realistically speaking, governments as well as individuals need to truly evaluate the risks of living in an area that is suspect for natural events such as a hurricane. For the individual it should be an easy decision to make... live with the threat of property destroying storms or don't.

For the governments, which are supposed to be represented by the citizens in potentially affected areas, perhaps a bit more difficult. But efforts could start by imposing zoning and building ordinances that are designed to stand the test of the most catastrophic sort of hurricane, for instance. Of course this would lead to greater expenses for all individuals pondering the decision to live in those locations (or invest or build or do business there), but that alone would take care of the 'poor people' alluded to earlier. They simply wouldn't be able to reside in an area they couldn't afford. They would reside in areas that are affordable to them further away from the greatest threat of devastation (based on the best evaluations of risk).

Bottom line, the government should be more concerned protecting rights rather than perhaps poor decision making. The individual should know the rules as well as the risks and choose accordingly... and take responsibility.

I'll make one very bold prediction... there won't be any hurricanes in Arizona this year.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

An article about housing recovery...

Found this one today (but it was published last Friday) and thought it had a few interesting things to comment on.

Read the whole thing here.

Some bits and commentary below...

A nascent recovery
Commentary: Overlooked signs the U.S. housing market is turning

That is the title of the article and before I go on I want to make clear that what I copy below perhaps won't have exact relevance to our local Kingman market, but still I sense there may be some items to look for.

Spurred by markdowns up to 80% from market highs, first-time buyers and investors both American and foreign descended en masse in the last three months on San Francisco's hardest-hit hinterlands as Wall Street and the economic climate improved. They're picking clean the Delta region's banked-owned inventory as soon as properties hit the market and are engaged in unprecedented bidding wars even on short sales.

Obviously the article is taking on what is happening near a location near San Francisco in California. Yet our own inventory of foreclosure properties here in Kingman is being picked as well, maybe not to the point of being picked clean but as I reported on in my Listings Report for May -- foreclosed listings are at the lowest level since I've been reporting on that sort of data.

I'm aware of multiple offers being put in on some foreclosed listings, but haven't heard the same thing about short sales in this area yet (doesn't mean it isn't happening though).

After spending most of the 1990s in the $250,000 range, the median-priced home that was sold in the seven-county San Francisco area rose to a staggering $850,000 by its May 2007 peak. It since fell to a low of $399,000 in February -- a 53% drop in just 21 months -- before posting its first monthly gain in March, albeit a 1% uptick. The median is expected to continue rising at a healthy clip in months ahead since it's now at the level of nine years ago, before the bubble began inflating.

The median priced single family home in Kingman has dropped 53% in pretty much the same time period as reported above.

I'm not as optimistic about the median price rising at a healthy clip in the months ahead though, but would love to be wrong about that.

California's statewide inventory of unsold homes -- based on the number on the market divided by the present monthly sales rate -- stood at a 15.2 months supply in February, 2008. That figure was down to 5.8 months in March, near the historic average.

At one point in Kingman I believe I reported that we may have had darn near close to 20 months of inventory on the market, and now my data says we are down in the eight to nine month range. Meanwhile for the foreclosure market has a little over a months worth of inventory.

The specter of rising foreclosures -- born now of the recession rather than just overleveraged subprime borrowers -- is the wild card in future health of the U.S. housing market and the economy by extension.


And in an overlooked report that belies the first-quarter delinquency numbers, defaults on privately insured mortgages -- where borrowers are more than 60 days behind -- fell 3% in April and were down 24% from a record 106,482 in February, the trade group Mortgage Insurance Companies of America reported Friday.

I'm not sure what to make of that, but I hope it is correct and continues.

Most importantly for gauging the strength of the nationwide market is how conditions are improving in the most-depressed regional markets.

With those markets now stabilizing, banks are no longer anxious to dump real-estate owned properties, as houses in their foreclosure portfolios are called, fearing they'll get appreciably less three months from now for their foreclosed properties.

As a result, they'll be more judicious about the pace at which they release foreclosures onto the market. The new goal: To maximize the value of supplies in hand rather than unload it helter-skelter and torpedo the housing market like they did while they were shell-shocked by the devastation they'd wrought.

With the banks themselves now somewhat more stable, they'll also be less likely to want to part with their "toxic assets" knowing the most-scorched, still-serviceable mortgages will be the most valuable on a credit-risk markup once the economy recovers. In fact, the price stabilization in the most-depressed U.S. markets will allow a clearer valuation of the toxic assets we now all hold by virtue of bank bailouts -- a modicum of certainty that will hasten the overall recovery.

And there is the key from the beginning of this slide and the massive influx of foreclosures that led to the conditions we see today. The key being the day would (or will at least) come when banks consider not only competing amongst themselves to sell off their inventory... but also compete again against the traditional seller.

I'm not saying that it is happening right here, right now... it is just a sign worth looking for. With reduced levels of foreclosed inventory clearly visible in our market the sign might just be visible if not now then perhaps soon.

Last bit...

Homeowners in most of America know by their own property's value that the spike in U.S. median home values was driven in considerable measure by soaring prices and volume in major markets, especially in California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona. By virtue of their climates and economic-growth rates, those four states have been on the extremes of the U.S. boom-and-bust housing cycle since the 1950s.

You can't discount how critical an upturn in those states will be, considering they account for 46% of foreclosures nationwide. If foreclosures there are more quickly consumed as they're starting to be now -- fueled in part by foreign buyers who recognize their value -- we'll all reap a return on our bailout money a lot faster.

"The banks are getting smarter and realizing that if they don't sell it in a short sale, they lose more money going the foreclosure route," Barbee said.

Adds Sharga: "The banks will be very particular and thoughtful about how they'll release new foreclosures, because they know now how flooding the market will have a disastrous effect."

Something to keep an eye on anyway.

Still waiting for that other shoe to drop?? Well then, keep an eye on interest rates. Not out of the woods yet, but nonetheless a decent article worth considering.

Mohave Real Talk in the news...

My podcast partner at Mohave Real Talk, Evan Fuchs, is featured on the front page of the Mohave Daily News this morning. He was interviewed about using social networking and podcasting for business and other means.

Full article here...

BULLHEAD CITY - Ten years ago, if a company wanted to get more exposure, it would print flyers, make some phone calls and maybe even have a sign spinner on the sidewalk.

Today, the nature of marketing has changed. What once was a tangible medium now is an Internet-based model that relies on the use of social media. The utilization of Web-based social networking sites such as Twitter, MySpace and Facebook has opened doors between businesses and clients, allowing for a greater flow of information.

For local business people like Evan Fuchs and Nikki Reagan, business means communication and transactions in real time, online.

The spread of information, says Evan Fuchs of Bullhead/Laughlin Realty, in an integral part of the real estate business. With national reports daily about the dire state of the mortgage scene and rising foreclosures, Fuchs found himself in a different position.

“There's so much bad information out there,” mainly because, he said, real estate markets differ quite a bit regionally. National averages are not always indicative of the reality in specific locations. “Locally, our market is very different.”

Fuchs says Bullhead City is on the rebound, with the numbers indicating a possible balancing of supply and demand for homes in the city. And he decided to do something about it.

“I kind of look at it as my job to get what I know out there without spin,” said Fuchs. “Sometimes it's better, sometimes it's worse but it's the truth and I think that's what people want to see.

“I've got a little bit of techie going through me,” he said, noting that his fascination with technology helps him more easily spread information via the Internet.

First came the Web site. Then the blog. Then the podcast.

“Social media opens a lot of doors,” said Fuchs.

From its inception 10 years ago, Bullhead/Laughlin Realty's Web site has seen considerable monthly traffic and brings in “a ton” of business. “I've definitely found business through my blog,” he said.

Through the development and integration of the regional multiple listing service (MLS) - a database of home listings in the area - Fuchs met fellow Tri-state Realtor Todd Tarson of Kingman. After a few months of comparing notes via their individual blogs, Fuchs and Tarson realized the next step was podcasting.

“We talk about real estate and we do market updates, that sort of thing, but we also just kind of chat,” said Fuchs, of their now weekly Internet broadcast. “It's real casual.”

The co-hosts of Mohave Real Talk connect via Skype, an online phone system, record the show and post it for free download on the Web site.

Fuchs says he favors Social media because it simply gives his audience what they're looking for without pressure or hassles, which helps build trust.

“Our thing really - and this is what the Web site, podcast, blogging are all about - is to be a source of information for people,” he said. “I don't like things getting crammed down my throat, so I try not to cram things down people's throats. ... We just put information out there and just hope that people find it useful.”

My hat's off to Evan for making the podcast become a reality. So far I've had plenty of fun being a part of the show. We hope the podcast helps some become more familiar with the local market(s) and promise to give some insight into Realtor membership and other industry issues as well.

Thanks again, Evan -- and that sure was a very nice article.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Slashing home prices...

Found an article from the Las Vegas newspaper that appeared in the June 6th edition that covered the subject of price reductions for listings in the Las Vegas (Nevada) market. Read the whole thing here.

From the article...

The average listed home price was reduced 10.6 percent nationwide, with larger drops coming in areas hardest hit by foreclosures such as Detroit, Las Vegas and Miami, a San Francisco-based real estate search firm reported Friday.

That's encouraging news for prospective buyers as $27.4 billion was slashed from the price of homes for sale across America, including $156 million in Las Vegas, said Ken Shuman, spokesman for Trulia Inc., a San Francisco-based real estate search engine company.

Las Vegas ranks second to Detroit with a 16 percent listing price reduction, from an average of $330,870 to $276,780. List prices in Detroit were cut 23 percent to $62,110, Trulia reported.

Thirty percent of all property listings in Las Vegas have experienced at least one price reduction in the past 12 months, well above the national average of 23.6 percent.

It all points to the supply vs. demand thingy I once learned about many years ago in my business 101 class I took at a community college. If anything, it appears the Las Vegas market has plenty of supply to choose from -- but there is a clear lack of demand for homes offered at the initial offering price.

So buyers might be encouraged (as I emphasized above), but will only take action and demand when the price is right -- or else there wouldn't be this article about price reductions.

Thirty-five percent of homes listed at more than $150,000 dropped their prices at least once, compared with 23 percent of homes priced under $150,000.

It is not clear from the article how the data was collected but the above shouldn't be that much of a surprise given the fact that affordability is back front and center as a fundamental reason to purchase a home. The more affordable the price, the more likely the chance there will be multiple buyers with some interest.

Sellers in Las Vegas realize the market is in the toilet and have been steadily reducing prices, said Sue Naumann, president of Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.

"The most important thing in marketing a property is price it well," she said. "I counsel my sellers to look at what percentage prices are declining at and you either price it to sell today or you'll hold on to it for a while."

I'd add to that the most important thing in marketing a property is to price it well from the moment a seller decides to put the home on the market. Also consider pricing to levels that can be proven to be successful (look at a number of comparable recent closed sales for instance) instead of simply what other 'sellers' have their properties listed at.

Folks, it is no secret in a market such as this one that potential buyers are going to want to negotiate and bargain for a better price no matter what the listing price actually is. Here is the thing though, buyers have proven time and time again that they won't show up even to bargain until the current listing price is realistic to the current market. This could mean a price reduction... or even a series of price reductions... before buyers appear.

In many cases we see traditional sellers put their property on the market for a price that does not attract interest. At some point the seller decides to lower the price to a new level that may or may not attract interest. From the time that the listing hits the market and the price reduction goes into affect the clock is ticking and the market continues to slide. Wasted time.

While the article above states that the data does not include foreclosure properties in the findings, I've decided to put together some data reflecting price reductions and further negotiated price concessions for both traditional sellers and bank owned properties that have closed escrow over the last six months. To repeat, I'm not certain how Trulia worked up the data in their findings covered in the referenced article so a quick explanation on how I have for the charts below.

As a Realtor in the Kingman area I belong to the WARDEX MLS and over the course of a listing that successfully closes escrow there are three different (in most cases these days) prices recorded; the original price on day one of the listing, the current marketing price the day the property goes under contract, and the final fully negotiated sales price the day the transaction closes escrow.

The data below is reflective of closed transactions posted over the last six months... and, of course, this means it is disclaimer time before we go on...

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.

Below there are two charts, one represents closed transactions by traditional sellers and the other is from bank owned or foreclosed listings.

Traditional Sellers:

(click on image for larger view)

Bank Owned:

(click on image for larger view)

Keep in mind that the only correlation these listings have is that they closed escrow in one of the last six months. There is no productive way for me to discern when they originally were listed for sale. Looking at my data and I see homes that were on the market for over a year, yet others that were on the market for less than a month. Some individual listings reduced price by larger percentages than shown, and others had no reductions (very few didn't have any negotiated price concessions throughout the life of the listing).

But the average data also has some commonalities as the all the average monthly figures show that the seller (either traditional or bank) reduced price and further negotiated and conceded price once the listing went under contract. Also, the average seller reduced more in price than they did during negotiation.

The bars in the charts represent the total price concession from day one of the listing to the successful close of escrow. The blue colored portion of the bar represents the average price reduction to attract a buyer. The results indicate that sellers are not in touch with either the market or buyers on day one of the decision to put their property on the market (and that even goes for banks with their foreclosure listings).

It appears that a trend is forming concerning the red colored portion of the bars above... as prices have fallen over the last year (at least) the negotiated price concessions have begun to get smaller (very visible for the bank owned properties). To me this means that prices are getting to the point where more than one possible buyer may exist for a properly priced, according to the current market, listing. The lock is off the door at least and perhaps buyers will come rushing through... ehhh, perhaps.

In any case, for you the perhaps traditional seller... planning to sell or already have your home on the market... the blue portioned part of the bar is your biggest hindrance on the path for attracting a buyer. Once you have adjusted the listing price accordingly to the current market, you will have the best chance to attract a buyer. For the traditional sellers represented above over the last six months it took an average of 112 days to attract that one buyer to enter contract and another 36.5 days to close escrow. Not much can be done to affect the latter average number, but much can be done about the former. Face it, 112 days is darn near four months and the market can change for the worse in four months... see this chart as an example...

As a seller in today's market you have to be aware of this particular trend line. Be prepared to think four or five months into the future and price accordingly.

The sales report for the month of May is just a day or two away from being posted be sure to come back and check it out.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Visual evidence of the 'stimulus' bill has failed...

And just think it was a local newspaper editor that said the Tea Party attendees were simply racists.

Click here to see visual evidence of how the so called stimulus bill has failed to save or create (whatever that BS line was) jobs.

Talking about recovery

Saturday, June 06, 2009

When bureaucrats attack...

It won't come as a shock when I say government equals bureaucracy, and that bureaucracy equals obstacles for free enterprise and personal responsibility.

Nationally, this country is in dire economic straights and many folks will be facing the prospect of pulling themselves up by their boot straps in hopes of providing goods or services that are worth the exchange of dollars in return. Dollars for things like food and rent for shelter.

Guess who will be standing in the way?? The government.

From this San Francisco Chronicle piece...

He sleeps under a bridge, washes in a public bathroom and was panhandling for booze money 11 months ago, but now Larry Moore is the best-dressed shoeshine man in the city. When he gets up from his cardboard mattress, he puts on a coat and tie. It's a reminder of how he has turned things around.

In fact, until last week it looked like Moore was going to have saved enough money to rent a room and get off the street for the first time in six years. But then, in a breathtakingly clueless move, an official for the Department of Public Works told Moore that he has to fork over the money he saved for his first month's rent to purchase a $491 sidewalk vendor permit.

Read the whole thing, of course, and you will find that Mr. Moore has simply a great attitude about his plight. Others aren't so happy. While Mr. Moore will go on and placate the bureaucrats and find private shelter, the news of this will likely be a microcosm of things to come from governments top down. Too much government control over free enterprise and the pursuit of happiness.

Christine Falvey, spokeswoman for Public Works, said the department's contact with Moore was meant to be "educational."

"We certainly don't want to hamper anyone's ability to make a living," Falvey said. "Our education efforts are actually meant to support that effort by making our streets an enjoyable place for people to visit."

Really?? How about requiring a permit for the homeless that use the public streets in San Francisco as urinals??

Sounds like San Francisco is not all concerned about the homeless problem that is apparent in that city, cause if they were they would be promoting the free enterprise efforts of Mr. Moore, not penalizing them.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Econ development every now and then Thursday returns!!

Back by quasi popular demand is the sometimes reoccurring theme post of economic development highlights being made... sadly... in other locations other than Kingman at the present time. Got five articles to share today, and one is sort of a repeat but it has plenty of information worth sharing.

So let's pump this party already...

City receives Eagle Award for economic development

The City of Centennial has received the 2009 Eagle Award from the Southeast Business Partnership in honor of the city’s commitment to economic development.

Jack O'Boyle, a member of the partnership’s board of directors, presented the award to Mayor Randy Pye at the organization’s annual awards luncheon on May 29.

According to O’Boyle, a former mayor of Lone Tree, Centennial was recognized, in part, because of its commitment to fostering economic growth, not just in Centennial, but along the entire southeast I-25 corridor.

“Mayor Pye has demonstrated time and time again that he is a regionalist,” O’Boyle said. “He made it very easy for he and I and Mayor Nancy Sharpe of Greenwood Village to work together with the local businesses in our own best interests, without trying to cut each other off at the knees.”

Centennial, an 8-year-old city and the newest addition to the cities along the I-25 corridor between Hampden and Lincoln avenues, has become increasingly focused on encouraging a favorable business climate, Pye says.


Other recent corporate coups in Centennial include Comcast’s new western-states data center and the impending arrival of IKEA, the world’s largest home-furnishings manufacturer and retailer, which is constructing a 400,000-square-foot outlet in the city.

You know, it is rather easy to tell from this article that the city of Centennial is a great place to do business in. Honestly, if that is all I got out of this article... it is way more than enough.

Oh... and watch the term 'data center'... a good sort of business to attempt to attract to this area.

Union City Community & Economic Development Committee Presents "Discover Union City... America's Next Boomtown"

UNION CITY, IN and UNION CITY, OH--(Marketwire - June 4, 2009) - The Union City Community and Economic Development Committee (UCCEDC) will present "Discover Union City... America's Next Boomtown" on Friday, June 19th, 2009. Union City's location on the Indiana-Ohio border gives it the unique ability to leverage business incentives from either state and to draw from the labor pool and quality of life opportunities from both.


The scheduled events, however, are what will highlight current initiatives in alternative energy education, business opportunities, and quality of life. Local entrepreneurship, natural resources, a passion for training our youth for the global economy, and our agricultural heritage has made Union City a hotbed for alternative energy development.

A wind turbine groundbreaking at Union City Community High School is planned for 10:30 AM. Union City is the first community in the nation to have wind turbines producing energy for both a school and city. The ceremony will include comments by the private and public partners working on innovative curriculum to educate and train high school students in the alternative energy fields. Students will also speak on how the program has already made a difference in their lives.
Even though that today is a fine day to be a wind turbine here in Kingman... I get the feeling we are falling further behind. Looks like Union City doesn't think the wind turbines are all that ugly to look at.

But imagine that... a city actually out there marketing itself to attract new opportunities.

Mo. gov. signs economic development bill
Mo. gov. signs bill expanding tax breaks for some businesses, restricting others

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A tax break is on the way for thousands of Missouri businesses.

Gov. Jay Nixon signed legislation Thursday eliminating Missouri's corporate franchise tax for most of the businesses that pay it and enlarging the tax incentives available for employers who expand their payrolls or plants.


The ultimate cost or benefit of the legislation is somewhat unclear; a legislative oversight office had not completed a financial estimate of the measure by Thursday.

Nixon praised the law as a "decisive action to help businesses create jobs."

"By expanding the number of economic tools at our disposal, we'll make sure the world knows Missouri is open for business, and we'll get our workers back on the job," Nixon said in a prepared statement.


The law expands several popular tax credits, including the Quality Jobs program that applies to employers who add jobs with at least average wages and health benefits. The law raises the cap on Quality Jobs tax credits to $80 million from the current $60 million, giving state economic development officials greater flexibility to target businesses.


The New Markets program provides tax credits to equity investments in development projects located in areas with significant poverty rates or low incomes. The BUILD program provides aid for companies to pay off bonds used to build their plants.

Supporters are hopeful the package will encourage expansions by several particular companies, including St. Louis-based seed-maker Monsanto Co. and Lee's Summit-based battery-maker Kokam America Inc.

Lot's of other great stuff in that article as well. One you should click on for more detail. What I like most was the governor of a state is willing to take some bits of risk to help employers in his state create more jobs. Honestly it isn't even all that much of an outlandish idea.

So 'show me' Missouri has made it clear that it is open for business... has Kingman?? If so, show me.

Clearwater plans 118-acre industrial park

Clearwater officials are after the big economic development fish, and the bait on their hook is a 118-acre industrial park on the city's east edge just off 135th Street.

The park --"As close to shovel-ready as you can get," said its Wichita broker, Steve Martens -- got its start as a potential home for small existing and expanding Clearwater businesses.

But Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition officials urged the city about four months ago to extend utilities and build a more versatile industrial park.

"Over the years, we've either had smaller companies or people associated with Clearwater ask for a place to build or start a business, but we haven't had a place for them," said Kent Brown, Clearwater's city manager.

Brown said GWEDC officials intervened, asking the city to "retain some flexibility" in the development for a larger industry.

"They told us the parcel's attractive because of the rail option there," he said. "We're on (Watco) short line railway, and we've already had discussions with them on a rail spur or circle, and both are easily doable for an easy connection to the Union Pacific or Burlington Northern."

I wish I could make this stuff up because in a very strange and warped way, I find most of it extremely hilarious. And yet I also want to cry. (serenity now... serenity now... unicorns and rainbows... okay much better now)

Now for this last article, like I said before -- this is a bit of repeat -- but the quotes and the other information is just too juicy not to share...

New Bridge at Forefront of Economic Development in South Texas

MISSION, Texas, June 4 /PRNewswire/ -- People recognize a good investment when they see one, and those people are investing in the South Texas city of Mission, bringing economic development to the area even when other parts of the country are struggling.

The largest recent investment is the Anzalduas International Bridge, a $168-million joint project between the United States and Mexico. The newest and one of the largest international bridges in the United States will open in October and directly connect Mission with Reynosa, Mexico, a city known for its advanced manufacturing and import/export operations.


As new jobs continue to funnel in, so are the people. The Mission MSA added more than 150,000 residents since the 2000 Census, and with population projected to double by 2025, the real estate market has begun to expand, showing an increase in both sales and median price of existing homes. Mission has also seen new ventures in the luxury condominium sector with the construction of Vantage Luxury Hotel Condos, whose condos are already sold out, with most purchased by wealthy investors from Mexico.

"There is a tremendous demand for quality housing construction here in South Texas because land prices and construction are still reasonably priced. We're selling units much faster than we can build them," said Fernando Rivera Garcia, CEO of Infinity Global Development Group, LLC.

Well, uh... imagine that. An infrastructure project bringing economic development to the area. And to boot, the infrastructure project isn't even completed yet.

Now for some editorializing (maybe a rant)...

The funny thing here is that I'm getting a strong feeling that the Kingman community is gonna let the city leaders get away with practically doing nothing about economic conditions. I hate to say it like that because I like our current leaders in office (and I love the community). I do think they mean well and all, certainly are friendly, and certainly seem concerned... BUT WHAT ARE THEY DOING ABOUT IT??

What's that you say?? This??

In the words of Hall of Fame tennis player John MacEnroe... YOU CAN NOT BE SERIOUS!!

A couple of months back there was sort of a big deal about a new economic development type of commission formed by the City Council. And pretty much a couple of months back was the last time anyone has mentioned it. Probably why I can't remember the exact name for this body and can't be bothered to even try to look it up. Which helps me segue to the next bit.

So maybe I'm way off base here, perhaps the city leaders are doing something about it. Maybe things are in the works and positive efforts are being made to make the sort of changes that are needed to compete with these five communities mentioned above and the almost certain thousands of other communities are actively competing for new and better prospects for opportunities. So if that is indeed the case, and I owe apologies to the city leaders... WELL THEN WHY THE HELL IS THE DAILY HIGH SCHOOL NEWSPAPER NOT REPORTING ON IT??

I mean it has to be one or the other, has to.

Look here, there is this not-so-new-any-longer invention called the Internet now, a resource that will allow the positive efforts for economic development (I'll simply hope and pray are currently underway) to perhaps reach anyone in the world that can log into the thing. And the odds are decent that 'anyone' could actually mean 'someone' that desires to locate a business or even relocate a business in a business friendly environment (the horror, Martha, the horror).

Two things prove my point; 1) I find articles like these above on the Internet from mainly local media outlets doing the reporting and it takes maybe five minutes worth of searching, and 2) all the negative articles that were written about how some often featured by the media locals wanted to end 'explosive' growth or 'irresponsible' growth (or whatever) were most definitely read by the kind of 'someone' I mentioned in the previous paragraph.

And here we are.

Before the regular that pops in here with the 'love or leave it' attitude... a preemptive shot from me comes first. I know plenty of very hard working and totally capable younger folks (thinking working age when I say younger) that live right here in Kingman. All capable of squeezing blood from a stone, thank you, but why should any of these great fellow citizens be subjected to that when other communities are rolling out the red carpet so their citizens don't have to??

Oh I know, I know... tighten belt... hide in shell.

Amazing here in Kingman that some think it is folly to try for the brass ring.

(Fine, rant over)


I really like today's edition of Day by Day.

(click on image for larger view)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Health benefits brought to you by Wal-Mart??

This one caught my eye today. Give this article, titled Wal-Mart's Weight Effect, a read.

I liked this last part of the article the best but be sure to read the whole thing...

The Wal-Mart effect shows, finally, how incentives matter. We've illustrated how changes in relative prices and purchasing power affect people's decisions, and this research suggests that people do make the right decisions when the prices of healthy foods fall and purchasing power rises.

Do you want to make poor people healthier? Then restricting the growth of discount chains is the last thing you should do. Instead, repeal programs that distort incentives--like agricultural subsidies that make junk food made from corn and soybean derivatives artificially cheap. Next, cut payroll taxes. With more take-home pay in their pockets, lower-income workers can afford to buy foods that are better for their health.

I bet there is a correlation in there for 'poor communities' looking for new economic development opportunities as well. Think about it.

Case goes to AZ Supreme Court...

Back on May 22nd I wrote a post about the legal battle involving a developer that made and agreement with a municipal government. The Arizona Supreme Court made its decision to go ahead and hear that case.

More about that here from this report...

The battle over CityNorth is headed to the Arizona Supreme Court.

Both the developer of the project, Klutznick Co., and the Goldwater Institute, which filed suit to end the incentive agreement between CityNorth and the city of Phoenix, will have their arguments heard before the state’s highest court.

At issue is an economic development agreement between Klutznick Co. and the city. The conservative Goldwater Institute says the $97.4 million tax incentive package given to the mixed-use, partially built project is not in the best interest of taxpayers.

The Goldwater Institute challenged the CityNorth agreement in court claiming it violated provisions of the state gift clause. But a Maricopa County Superior Court judge ruled in favor of the developer and city in April 2008 and dismissed the case. The Goldwater Institute appealed the decision and the U.S. Court of Appeals overturned the lower court’s decision late last year.

Klutznick, along with the city, then asked the Arizona Supreme Court to review the matter. The Supreme Court announced Monday that it will indeed hear the case. No date has been set for oral arguments, but they will likely be heard in the fall.

This case apparently is one thing that has put the possible negotiations between the city of Kingman and a different developer on a public/private partnership to build an interchange along Interstate 40 near Kingman Crossing on hold until after the decision of the Supreme Court ruling.

Shame really, since the plaintiff in the CityNorth deal has supported such agreements for actual beneficial infrastructure projects that would enhance the community. Something an interchange would do for Kingman at this time.

Monday, June 01, 2009

City Council Liveblogging...

Giving this thing, live blogging, a go again.

Not going to time stamp each passage.

Meeting called to order. We have a quorum... in fact all elected leaders are attending tonight.

Doling out Council Liaison spot for boards and commissions. Councilman Keith Walker won't stay on as Planning and Zoning liaison, but the commission gets Councilwoman Robin Gordon. I can't keep up will all the appointments and I was frankly listening to who would be assigned to P&Z. Councilman Ray Lyons will be the back up liaison to P&Z.

I forgot to use the bathroom before the meeting started. Wish I could pause the meeting on the computer... but no. Need a Tivo or a DVR for this, darn it. Poor planning on my part. I'll hold out until after the call to public.

Call to public time... Harley Petit is the only person signed in to speak. Announcement about the next town hall event. Subject matter will be on drug use in the community.

Consent agenda time... meaning time for a bathroom break.

I'm back but don't know what they are covering as of yet. Doesn't look like all that many folks showed up for the meeting. Maybe those folks are following along here?? LOL!!

Issue was about a traffic signal for Bank and Gordon. Motion to approve carried. Still on consent agenda.

On to old business... Changing the name from Rattlesnake Wash (Mohave Drive) to Rancho Santa Fe Parkway. The mayor and councilman Kerry Deering excuse themselves from this item. The reasoning to make the change is fine, but I do find it funny that part of the reason to change the name from Rattlesnake Wash is so to avoid the stigma that there is a prevalence of rattlesnakes in the area. I don't know if there is a prevalence of rattlesnakes there or not, but I heard the area was aptly named... heard it from many locals (personally I don't want to really find out for myself).

Motion carried to change the name.

New business time... a request for an extension for a preliminary plat for the Walleck Ranch (Legacy) subdivision.

Wow... What is councils hang up on these prelim extensions?? Mrs. Gordon wants to put a fee increase for preliminary extensions (which now is $300) up for discussion at a later time.

Bill Nugent addresses council on item 'a' under new business. Seems kind of perturbed about water from a different development that has created a conditions to flow water onto his phase 5 of the development.

Councilwoman Watson just had an epiphany... said something to the effect that if council doesn't want to approve the extension of the preliminary plat, they don't have to. I'm not including this to be mean or disparaging... but honestly the final decisions in cases like this belong to that body of elected officials. I just get the feeling that council doesn't want to deal with these sorts of issues, the extension requests.

Sounds like council may not grant the extension based on the comments by at least four members of council at this point.

Nugent is back up at the podium. Pretty nice exchange. Telling to a large degree. If you aren't watching be sure to when the video is available on the city site.

Motion to approve and second... with conditions... passed by all.

Item 'b' under new business was quickly approved with no discussion.

Minor amendment to the General Plan up next. Mrs. Watson questions why C-1 zoning wasn't asked for. Now Harley Petit is wondering why the applicant couldn't just file for a conditional use permit for C-2 needed zoning. Just waiting for mentions of tattoo parlors and/or slaughterhouses (sorry Mr. Petit, I just had to).

Motion carried anyway.

Next item is simply a rezone for the land the minor amendment was just approved for.

The mayor commented about the C-1 and C-2 thing... he made a great point about 'good business'. Well done.

Next item is on the discussion to perhaps change the term for the office of mayor. Mr. Deering seems to be siding on not changing the term. Making well reasoned points (some sound like what I shared earlier). Mr. Lyons makes a funny by saying with all the turnover he's seen he wonders if the public would like to vote on each council seat every two years. Mrs. Gordon says that this decision should go to the voters after she tried to make a point about campaigning interfering with the mayor 'running the city'. Campaigning for office in Kingman is not all that much work (I've done it). Mrs. Watson says that voters should decide this issue. Now she is talking about a scenario that basically leads one to believe that she is thinking about running for mayor (Mr. Deering even asked if that was a declaration).

Mike Bihuniak, of the public, is making the point that things aren't broken so why change anything. Mike even says that campaigning in Kingman isn't all that big of a deal (sounds familiar) and then makes a comment about a candidate in the recent past getting petitions signed at a 'local watering hole'. Some laughter because he is talking about what many said that Bill Nugent did that very thing (and he is in attendance tonight). Mike is making other good comments as well.

Next up from the public is the Kingman Daily Loyd. Is proud of the fact that he has been named keeper of the conscience (oh brother). I'm sure the Daily Loyd will make some fine points, and include even some conspiratorial stuff... I'm checking baseball scores though (Met's lost, awesome!!). Oh... Loyd kept is short... and I agree with him.

Mayor says that council probably shouldn't put this issue forward, and even stated that he is planning to run again. He said other well reasoned things, mostly that even in his situation he is more than fine with the way things are.

Mrs. Watson wants to put the issue on the shelf until a later time.

No motion to do anything with it. I think it's a dead issue basically, until someone else bring it up again.

Meeting is basically wrapping up now, announcements being made. A ribbon cutting out at the airport for the passenger air service that is coming back to the airport. Mrs. Gordon still wants to see about putting an increase on bed taxes at hotels, would like to see it on an agenda. Also wants to have signage put up for public projects. Mayor announces a blood drive competition amongst the three main cities in Mohave County.

That's all folks. Motion to adjourn.

All right... one more...

I guess I'm just in one of those moods today and just feel like 'ripping the piss' as a former boss of mine used to say. The following also comes from the Kingman Daily Loyd, but in this episode I'm not really disagreeing with the author... entirely anyway.

My decision to go ahead with this one is for the reason that the topic will be discussed at tonights Kingman City Council meeting. I'll be watching via home computer and might even live blog.

So from the Kingman Daily Loyd's letter to the editor from last Friday...

Letter: Voters need more control, never less

Friday, May 29, 2009

During the May 18 Kingman City Council meeting, Councilman Keith Walker fielded the possibility of extending the mayor's term to four years as opposed to the current two-year term. In doing so, he reintroduces the age-old political manipulation scheme of maintaining Council control over a span of four years.

Currently, the mayor's slot has to stand the test every two years along with three Council members that are on staggered four-year terms. This gives the voters the chance to "Clean House" by electing a majority (4 out of 7) of new Council members every two years.

The wisdom of keeping this level of control with the voter is patently obvious. To reduce our choice to a minority replacement of the total Council membership means a voter-mandated change of Council direction would no longer be available.

The Kingman Daily Loyd's reasoning is solid here and I fully agree.

This question is about "control" and must be seen for the insidious proposal that it is.

And personally, I see it as a power grab by pro-interchange forces that see their rainbow-driven pots of gold slowly slipping from their grasp in a downward spiraling economy.

Okay... going off the rails a bit here. At this moment I'm fashioning a hat made of tin-foil for Loyd... I'm guessing he is a size 7 and 3/4's.

And I'm surprised Loyd didn't say that if only the pro-interchange folks would just wait in a shell until the economy comes back... why they'd have millions of dollars to spend dontcha know.

I stand firm that more power must be vested in the voter - never less.

I can dig it.

The factions on the council that will be waving the longer-term banner will also cry that two years just is not enough time to accomplish great things.

Wake me up whenever a government actually accomplishes great things. If this truly is the reasoning used for the discussion, I'll be disappointed.

Just remember that accomplishing great things equates to just how far into your wallet they can stick their fingers.

It's just that simple.

Loyd Peterson


Other than that last bit of empty rhetoric, there is much that I am compelled to agree with the Kingman Daily Loyd on this one.

Might be an interesting meeting tonight. Here is more about tonights meeting and other items on the agenda.

While I have the scissors out...

The local guy that called everyone that planned to attend the Tea Party back in April a racist (also known as the editor of the Kingman Daily Loyd... I mean Kingman Daily Miner) wrote a little piece in the Sunday edition worth noting.

Now I don't find myself disagreeing with the column with extreme prejudice (he is not advocating hiding in a shell at least) but there are a couple of differences of opinion here that I wanted to share. So let's make some cuts...

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Wow. The city of Kingman needs a rich uncle to die and leave them everything. He would have to be really rich, though, because the city is completely void of cash to pay for the plethora of capital improvement projects on its "wish list."

At the recent town hall meeting attended by a whole nine residents, Mayor John Salem figuratively scratched his head over the dilemma. He knows that we can't grow responsibly unless we complete some of these projects, but he also knows there's no money in the till to pay for them.

Well it is no surprise that Kingman doesn't have a rich uncle, and no one in the community is hoping that somebody dies and bequeaths enough cash to pull off a few infrastructure projects. However, at this point, if I won Power Ball I'd heavily consider donating 10% of the take to have the Kingman Crossing interchange constructed for once and for all... with one caveat... that the project is renamed after me of course (relax folks... like I'm really going to win Power Ball).

Also interesting to see that the group that refuses to define 'responsible' or even 'irresponsible' (part of their acronym) is now up to nine members. But seriously, kudos to that political action committee for continuing to host the town hall events. Hopefully more folks will attend at future meetings.

As for the dilemma the editor points out of the mayor knowing that the community can't grow 'responsibly' unless some big dollar projects come to fruition but alas faced with no existing money available to pay for the projects... here is a reminder; 1) there is a 168 acre parcel of land with Interstate frontage that is currently owned by the city which by all accounts can be considered an asset to be used to fund a project and/or 2) there is a developer that has been willing to enter a public/private partnership where the developer would front their own funding and build an infrastructure project, at no risk to the Kingman taxpayer for the project, that would almost certainly take care of one glaring need AND want from this community.

Even right now on the front page of the KDMiner there is a little poll that looks like this (at the time I'm writing this post)...

If you could create anything in Kingman, what would you choose?

Please select one:
Art/Culture center -- 8%
Roller rink -- 10%
Water park -- 21%
Shopping mall -- 28%
Movieplex -- 4%
Civic center -- 5%
Other -- 25%

Shocking, Martha, simply shocking.

How many birds might be killed with considering just one stone?? How about 1) getting a new infrastructure project paid for without taxpayer money up front with all the risk, 2) improving the value of a city owned asset by many multipliers, and 3) more shopping venues to placate the 'SHOP HERE!' program currently in place.

Of course there would be a litany of details that would have to be hammered out... but it is just so damn surprising that the city and this media outlet fails to talk further about the possibility, one that would likely increase job opportunities, improve access and public safety, and increase city sales tax dollars.

How many tax dollars are being collected on either the developers property or the city owned property at this very moment?? Seriously... how many??

After voters soundly defeated the city's last attempt to create bonds to pay for some of the projects, the city is skittish on the subject of bonds, especially in this economy. Former RAID (Residents Against Irresponsible Development) president Mike Bihuniak echoed at the meeting what many folks said after the bond failed two years ago. In a clear, concise way, ask voters to fund ONE project at a time. Tell them how much is needed, what you will do with the money, when the project will start and end, and how important the project is to the future of Kingman.

If the project is viable, voters will support it, EVEN IN THIS ECONOMY...

And here I agree with the editor and the reference to Mr. Bihuniak (can you believe it??). I frankly didn't care about the bonds on the 2007 special election as compared to the anti-growth referendums and stupid asset management decisions brought forth by said referendums back then. I since stated many times that I'd likely favor a bond measure that has clear and concise benefits that the community would enjoy. Since the media and political action committees have done their best over the last three or so years to thumb their nose to new investment and development in this community... it may just fall onto the community to pay for any improvements needed (example the increase in the base charge on the water bill). But still... doesn't mean it has to be that way (example earlier in this post).

Raising the sales tax, though, would be stupid, now or whenever. That stifles growth and makes residents angry. How about a gas tax on stations near the highways? Their prices are so high now, no one would notice. How about a tax on people taking their pictures in front of the train at Locomotive Park. I don't know if I've ever NOT seen people there posing when I drive by.

I agree here as well, however not so much on the taxing people in front of Locomotive Park park. More so in the sense of being creative on developing tax revenues. I don't know if there are any quirky legalities with increasing the sales tax rate on fuel purchases made at the 'near the highways' as the editor suggests, but he is obviously alluding to getting more tax dollars from those that are not from the Kingman community, i.e. those passing through... and again, not really a bad idea.

City conscience-keeper Loyd Peterson would like to see more belt tightening by the city, and I'm certain more can be done, but Salem is right when he says there's only so many reductions that can be made before residents cry foul.

City conscience keeper?? More like lead propagandist for the advocacy of hiding in a shell, so please spare us that moniker for the Kingman Daily Loyd.

But again I find myself agreeing with the the one that labels tax demonstrators as racists and the mayor, city services will likely suffer unless more economic development initiatives find success... and soon. Quality of life issues are very important and even if you, say, are against the expenses such as the golf course or the local public transportation service -- taking either away from even the vast minority of residents that partake in the services and the city will have folks up in arms.

The answer is developing more revenue resources... and if Kingman truly was making every effort to do so... they would simply be joining the thousands of other communities competing for the chance to do the very same thing.

Is. Worth. Fighting. For.

I still believe the answer to our money woes is in utilizing our "natural" resources, mainly Route 66. If the city would offer major incentives to transform that small section of the Mother Road, from Beale to the bottom of the hill, into a 1950s-style environment, with drive-ins and putt-putt golf and the ability to turn around at either side for "cruising," people would flock to Kingman from all over the world to "relive" that bygone era.

It's almost like "Field of Dreams," when Kevin Costner's character, Ray Kinsella, builds a baseball field in his cornfield and people come from all over to see it. James Earl Jones as Terence Mann has a good quote that fits here:

"People will come, Ray. They'll come to Iowa (Kingman) for reasons they can't even fathom. They'll turn up your driveway (Route 66) not knowing for sure why they're doing it. They'll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. ... The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces. ... Oh, people will come Ray. People will most definitely come."

Okay time for some slight disagreement on this. First of all I don't think Kingman has any former acid dropping owners of corn fields that hear voices in its midst, sadly. Second, Field of Dreams is a made up story that was made into a Hollywood movie. Chances are incredible that if the movie was adopted from a book, you'd find that book in the 'fiction' section of your favorite book store or library.

And even if there was some relevance between the movie and the plight of economic development in Kingman Arizona... there is a huge difference between the fun nostalgia of the 1950's and the American pastime of baseball. The main one is that baseball is still around with popular attention being paid to it and has been for over 100 plus years spanning many generations and will likely continue to be that way long after this current generation has been laid to rest. Dads (and Moms actually) and kids are still to this day 'having a catch' and creating lifelong memories. So it is no surprise that Field of Dreams plays on the heart strings for practically anyone that has shared a bit of catch with their parental unit. Same simply cannot be said for future generations for a stretch of road that is basically by-passed by most these days.

As for the Disney/Pixar animated movie Cars goes (someone is thinking about using that movie in a response right now reading this) well I saw that movie... protagonist wins the race and gets the girl and everyone is happy-happy... like all Disney movies. Kids today growing up loving that movie probably aren't going to be drawn to Kingman in future to check out a road cutting through it. Route 66 was a prop used in the background to tell an all too familiar story.

Our little stretch of 66 has been wasted by the leaders in this town for far too long. Mr. D's and places like it should be up one side of the road and down the other. Neon should be a requirement to build there; the more you plan to have, the more money you save to build. People would come from all over the world to cruise our "Radiator Springs."

I'll take Doc Grahm over Doc Hudson as a better bet to improve the future economic development here in Kingman. Well... no... I won't be that harsh. Though it would still be awesome with a capital A if Kingman landed a minor league baseball team sometime in the distant future.

Actually redeveloping the downtown area of Kingman to this theme isn't all that bad of an idea, I'm just not sure that this alone is the answer to the current economic woes Kingman faces. It would have likely been a better idea 10 or so years ago because that is likely how long it would take from now before all the heads got together, came to some form of agreement on how it would all work out, finding the funding (I'm not voting for that bond measure), planning, and finally carrying out the whole thing.

Face it, the generations of folks that are most attached to Route 66 aren't getting any younger. As a proud member of Generation X I have to admit that the first I heard about the fabled road was in a cover song produced by the 80's mod band Depeche Mode (it is awkward admitting to that). So it isn't all that likely that I would be passing along my affection of the Will Rogers Highway on to the next generation, but don't just take my word for it and I won't speak for the rest of my g-g-g-generation.

The answer to Kingman's financial woes is where one usually finds an answer to a problem. Right there in front of your nose.

Well said editor, well said. Too bad we differ on what is the more likely and viable solution for the economic development fix this town so badly could use. You know... the one you hardly trifle to bother covering.