Denver Direct: December 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
In another of the continuing archival series of Ginger Baker related footage, we have Clark Burch meeting Ginger Baker at the Parker, Colorado polo field. Burch had roped me into running camera, as you will hear.
at 5:02 PM
Saturday, December 20, 2008
I’ve been “under the weather” (aren’t we all?) with a sinus infection. Hence fewer posts. Now I’m on the second course of prescription antibiotics, this time with a steroid kicker. Does this stuff affect your mind? Is the long-awaited $600 trillion derivatives scheme tsunami coming on shore, or am I having a bad nasal hallucination.
I usually spend Saturday morning listening to the 3-hour Financial Sense Newshour. It is well worth it, especially if want to know what is happening to you. If you can only listen for one hour, choose the second hour (December 20, 2008). Danielle Park has a book - Juggling Dynamite: An insider's wisdom about money management, markets, and wealth that lasts. She’s very articulate and gives good advice.
Also, here is the best graph explanation of current financial situation in pdf form that I have seen. Not satirical.
at 3:53 PM
Saturday, December 13, 2008
“…or we would actually go through the process to get approval to remove that landfill material, if we have to, in those areas.”
This is the first time I have heard IRG state that they would remove any of the “landfill materials” from the proposed “Lowry Vista” project site. If you are not familiar with the myriad details go here, here, here, and the index to the right.
I recently learned that the water table on this site is just 2 feet below ground level. That makes sense when you think of the wetland just to the north, and the dam beyond that. What Marcus is trying to cover here is the fact that Urban Drainage said NO to the entire project, so IRG is proposing to dig out the north and build up to the south, to get the whole thing above the flood plane.
Nonetheless, this is the first time I’ve heard IRG mention the possibility of actually doing what should have been done in the first place – dig up the landfill and haul it to a “safe” place, which I presume is in Nevada.
at 4:21 PM
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Sebastian House, a local non-profit founded in 1974, gives away thousands of new clothes items every year to the needy. This year we are adding a canned food drive. This is local local action, and will help your neighbors. Take a few cans of soup, tuna, or vegetables with you the next time you visit:
Hairworks – 2201 Lafayette St. D’s Daily Dish - 1426 E 22nd Ave. East Denver Liquor – 1434 E 22nd Ave. On the Run Eatery – 1432 E 22nd Ave.
Full disclosure: My partner Pat Manning and I are on the Board of Directors of Sebastian House, Inc.
at 9:41 AM
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
I'm guessing most Denver residents don't even know where the Elyria neighborhood is located as they zoom over it on I-70. I probably wouldn't either were it not for the fact that my first job in Denver, back in 1972, involved going house-to-house there to distribute leaflets for the Denver Public Schools to encourage enrollment in a GED program.
Tom Anthony, President of the Elyria Neighborhood Association, recently wrote:
I was just served notice that my adjustable-rate mortgage is ratcheting up by 2 percent in February. As president of my neighborhood association, I also received notice by the city of Denver about their Neighborhood Stabilization Program dated Nov. 14, for which the comment period ends Dec. 1 - Monday.
The plan involves the city taking possession of about $6 million in foreclosed properties by purchasing foreclosed mortgages from the banking industry that investors won't buy. We believe the shortened comment period is due to the fact the banks want to unload their defaulted paper onto the taxpayers in time to make consumer loans for Christmas.
Another $10 million is being requested from the state for the purpose of purchasing and demolishing homes nobody wants, in neighborhoods nobody wants to live in. Thus, the "Neighborhood Stabilization Program" may direct up to 63 percent of its funding into purchasing and demolishing Denver homes and taking them out of the tax base.
While some Denver neighborhoods are getting Historical District status - which means it virtually takes an act of Congress to remove a house - other neighborhoods stand to be at least decimated by the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, in which an act of council can wipe out dozens if not hundreds of homes in one fell swoop. For this reason I must ask other neighborhoods to take note. Elyria Neighborhood has led the metro area in the foreclosure rate for nearly four years, ever since the Colorado Department of Transportation Web sited a proposed realignment of Interstate 70 that will put a 12-lane-wide stretch of that highway over our neighborhood.
Three years ago the average home price in was $147,000. Today it's $61,000.
Not surprisingly we are a "starter home" neighborhood and lots of people had ARMs. When you sign on the line for an ARM you know you have to keep your credit good and also invest in your home so you can get a good appraisal, or else you won't get a refinance and your interest rate will jump.
I and many of my neighbors agreed to these terms because we did intend to improve our real estate. We remodeled, improved, added on, restored, landscaped, painted, applianced and furbished. Often we used credit accounts to accomplish this. However, we did not foresee the realignment of a 12-lane interstate highway over our neighborhood.
It does little good to add a bathroom when your appraised value drops by 70 percent.
Elyria was incorporated in 1880. We don't deserve this.
Read more here.
at 11:45 AM
Monday, December 1, 2008
Seedco is back before City Council this evening, asking for a continuation ($3,000,000) of the Federal money Denver turns over to it for distribution as small business loans. As I understand it, Seedco is a not-for-profit out of New York which claims to “leverage” the money we give them. I think they are misusing that term and would advise that, in this over-leveraged financial environment, they use another word. What they actually do is “attract” additional private loans based on the credibility they get from receiving the Denver money.
Apparently they haven’t been doing a very good job at their Denver office. Denver’s Office of Economic Development has been keeping track, and published a Monitoring report last week. There are many problems listed, but I’ll quote just one that seemed the most egregious to me. They don’t know how to create a filing system:
Condition: Overall, the loan files appear to be disorganized, with no order or consistency. There are many files with a variety of documents inconsistently filed. Therefore, it is understandable that some documents are present in some files but not in others. Technical Asisstance offered:
The Contract Administrator will provide the agency with a sample file and template to allow the agency to set up their files in a manner consistent with the way in which the City and County of Denver sets up their files in accordance with the direction of our HUD monitor.
Recommendation: SEEDCO should purchase legal sized files with 6-8 compartments in order to facillitate file organiation to ensure compliance. The Contract Administrator will put together a sample file and provide technical assistance identifying the preferred method of organizing a file in order to assist SEEDCO in organizing their documents to facillitate a more comprehensive approach to establishing support documentation.
All files should be reorganized in the prescribed method and missing documentation should be inserted by November 30, 2008.
City Council voted last week to proceed, even though the Monitoring report was not yet available, and I’m guessing that Council will approve the continuation (another $3,000,000) tonight despite the seemingly incompetent manner in which the organization has been run.
at 4:44 PM
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