Thursday, May 31, 2007
Last year a study of potential locations identified the 300 block as a priority if the premise was overall downtown economic development. The public financing part has been the sticking point for the last year or so. Then in October last year another study recommended the 400 block with a few condos. Last night they reviewed priced-out options and the public financing part is still up in the air.
Look for more details in two months. In the meantime, carpool downtown.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
In 2003, Kingsley Management told a resident of the Carefree Country Mobile Home Park they managed in Utah that he couldn't use the swimming pool because he had a "communicable disease" - AIDS. The fact that water isn't the method of transmission didn't occur to their lawyers who threatened eviction if he jumped in the water.
Also in 2003, residents of Kingsley-managed El Granada (CA) Manufactured Home Community claimed they "have slapped on extra fees for water and garbage, enforce the rules inconsistently, aren't keeping the park up, and are unresponsive to the residents' concerns....We have out-of-state greedy owners that haven't cooperated. The condition and maintenance of the park have been appalling." The San Mateo County Commissioners voted to institute rent control on the properties in response to the poor management. (See the build up in 2002 here.) The Taylorsville, Utah City Council issued subpoenas to the HOA of a Kingsley-managed property in 2003 over election complaints.
I couldn't find a website for Kingsley directly, but I did find their sales force recruitment site.
What caught my eye was the last sentence in the Lafayette News: "[Lafayette City Councilor Frank] Phillips wants to explore the possibility of municipal regulations for leases." Seems Lafayette won't be the first community to address such needs based on Kingsley's management style.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
The unattributed Northridge HOA blog has this comment:
I'm going to be very interested in how the majority will handle the first realProblems contemplated include:
crisis that comes upon us all as a community. I figure that since
they have rejected the one solution that has been proposed, it
will fall to them to find the solution and provide the
Will some group of neighbors get so vexed by the condition of someReading between the lines I'm guessing there are a few homeowners letting their landscape fade, piling subjectively ugly amounts of random items in their yards , or maybe there are a few Darfur-related yards signs like the ones causing an HOA showdown in Boulder. And, they're in the majority and want to keep the meddling of a stereotypical HOA out. Pity, as the legal liability issues are compelling.
other neighbor's property that they will band together and sue that neighbor
under the legal and binding provisions of the contract know as the covenants?
The background to the vote is the "failure" of the developer of Northridge and the town to formally create an empowered HOA; there is now a legal limbo of an entity to handle enforcement and liability questions. In light of such limbo, the town is holding onto a couple hundred thousand dollars meant for Northridge neighborhood improvements.
This is a mess. Check out the PowerPoints from the meetings and the vote results on the Northridge website.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Saturday, May 26, 2007
"A wise person recently asked me: As a Jew, would you be offended if the work "kike" was part of a name for food? Kike-fish instead gefilte fish, for instance? Depends on the context, of course. If Moshe Greenstein served it to me at my favorite Jewish deli - with horseradish - probably not. If a guy with a swastika tattoo plated it up for me, probably.
And Blue Parrot is owned and operated by Italians. If they're not offended, why should I be offended for them?"
He continues with some background on the decison to keep it:
And for a while there, it looked as if the Wopburger would be yanked off the menu after 80-some-odd years as the kerfuffle erupted around the name. But then, an avalanche of support arrived - and a call from the family's patriarch, Joseph Colacci, made things right.
"Dad called me and said, 'Let it be. I want the Wop back on the menu,"' Riggins says. "It's not just him. People have been outraged by this. And it is terribly silly. ... This is our heritage and something we've lived with all our lives. I'm elated it stays."
Read the rest of hie article here.
Councilor Frank Phillips voted against the Immigration resolution with a rationale that such national issues are outside the purview and influence of City Council. It appears many Lafayette residents agree, as their silence on the resolution reveals an apathy at least, and perhaps more so an ambivalence towards the current status.
It is worth noting the issues that bring out the most public comment. While Boulder is known for making policy directives (i.e. their Climate Action Plan based on Kyoto goals) and resolutions on global issues, I don't perceive Lafayette's populace as desiring such principled, symbolic stances by their Council. Part of the oft-quoted "small-town feel" that is proudly mentioned here would by design include a focus on local issues with tangible impacts on residents. The immigration issue is either too global to consider - or too painfully local, too painful to even bring up to leaders. Beware the "I" word...
Friday, May 25, 2007
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
"We've had so many people coming in and calling us, telling us, 'I can'tThe Rocky Mountain News has some other related links to the story. Plus Mike Littwin editorialized about it.
believe you're changing the name. Please don't change the name,'" said Joan
Riggins, who owns the restaurant with her father, Joseph Colacci, and brother
Now it's a battle of wills. Any chance Mr. Gambino will sue? The spotlight is on, and people looking for a fight never refuse that opportunity. Larry King, O'Reilly and Hollywood can't be too far off.
To Kerry's point, the Rocky's food critic gave the wopburger a C+ for taste.
A related story to this is the recent outline of the study to re-route Hwy 7 to the north, such that the traffic heading west on that road from Broomfield and Erie could be re-routed north on a new section of road up to Arapahoe near Hwy 287. This would deflect a lot of traffic away from the north end of Lafayette's old town, decreasing the traffic on Baseline Rd.
Some details from Lafayette.
What's interesting is the Board of Trustees voted last week to spend up to $900 for a private investigator to look into the matter. There's nothing in the town's ethics ordinance saying such expenditures are required , so Van Lone voted against it. The stipend passed 6 - 1.
As opposed to abstaining, voting against further investigation of ethics complaints against yourself just adds more fuel to the fire. It's unfortunate that the Board couldn't just look at the issue at face value and determine if Van Lone crossed a line or not. Given the vagueness of ethics ordinances, he is not likely to be found in violation of anything.
The long background of the issue is in the Camera.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
There was a sharp commentary by Anna Nicole Smith's ghost on the misplaced focus by American media on irrelevant topics, a dismissal of Republican-bashing political cartoons and an interview with Jesus Christ regarding random songs on his iPhone.
I was impressed with the cleverness, awareness and often the cynicism found in the articles. Check out the online and print versions of your local high school. They are a great source of information on the concerns and mindsets of the next batch of leaders.
Friday, May 18, 2007
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Big arguments over this one. Friends have told me offense is in the eye of the beholder and removing offensive language from society is a good thing. Just because nobody called them on it before doesn't make the wopburger acceptable.
I say that the general standard needs to be an emphasis on intent, and if the person wasn't trying to offend, you have no case. If there is a gray area of determining intent, then I side with those who felt offended because it wasn't clear. In this case, the lack of insulting intent appears clear to me. The guy should have complained, stormed out, and eaten somewhere else.
Also: With Out Papers - is this reference credible?
The annexation ordinance says: The subject parcel is an enclave parcel located on the west side of State Highway 42 with approximately 377 linear feet of frontage on Highway 42. The subject property is currently zoned Boulder County Rural Residential. Contiguous parcels to the north and south of the subject parcel are within the City of Louisville and are zoned as Planned Community Zoned District (PCZD).
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
"The city of Lafayette acknowledges the importance of immigrants to the city economy and its cultural life" and that "Lafayette calls upon both the President of the United States and the Congress to pursue a course towards immigration reform that is realistic and comprehensive, that provides a path to citizenship, addresses the immigration backlog, unifies families, and provides a safe, legal and orderly avenue for migrant workers to enter the United States."Tuesday night Lafayette City Council passed the above statement, 5-2, with Councilors Bensman and Phillips opposing. Their reasons and other comments are found in this Camera article.
I support the sentiment that urges nation (federal-level) immigration reform. I don't know what "unifies families" implies, and I'll reserve skeptical judgement until I speak to the sponsors of the language.
Just for some context, check out the requirements for anyone wishing to move INTO Mexico and reside there. Other countries have similar expectations and requirements.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Monday, May 14, 2007
When the District threatened to drop the Blue Parrot's sauce for insensitivity, the wopburger was history. All within a month.
One person, one opinion, one private business' family recipe and name erased.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
I'm pleased to let you know 13.6 acres of commercial property on Highway 7 was approved by the the Board of Trustees on Tuesday evening. This site in Vista Ridge is located at the northwest comer of State Highway 7 and Mountain View Boulevard and consists of 6 commercial lots, and one tract for private road access.
The developer told the Board the first businesses have signed leases for the anticipated November 2007 opening. According to the developers Walgreens has also entered into an agreement build on an adjoining lot.
I also can confirm the major grocer interested in building a store at Bonanza and Highway 7 is continuing discussions with the developer who owns the land at this intersection. Both projects will help meet our adopted town economic goals while providing needed services to Erie and Broomfield residents.
Friday, May 11, 2007
We've commented on that before here and here.
They're asking for more direct accountability to the way the City will handle millions of TIF funds. Supporters argue the oversight is already built in and having Council involvement will scare off investors/developers.
The Lafayette News reports on the disagreement with the City Council's potential resolution stating, in part, “The City of Lafayette and its citizens encourage a moratorium on federal immigration raids until fair and humane immigration reform is passed in Washington.”
While such a statement is by design symbolic, is it worth bringing national legislation debates into local Council rooms? If we can't agree on where to place a hardware store without a ballot issue, is it worth creating a forum for debate on a national issue that ultimately we have no direct influence over? I'm just asking...
As a side note, near-term federal immmigration reform is unlikely given the disparate stands taken by the House and Senate.
County Assessor Cindy Domenico issued a press release about the valuation notices that points out : "On the residential side, general findings indicate that the majority of residential property values across the county increased in the range of 0-10%, with some notable exceptions, namely: Longmont, Lafayette, Louisville and Erie vicinity experienced a lesser increase (and in some cases, a decrease) in market-based value. "
Read more about the County's property values and how to challenge your assessment.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
As Doktorbombay asked, that post is ostensibly about the appeal of the colors at Eagle Place; out of curiosity I'm intrigued at any planning direction they were given regarding the choice. To continue that subjective debate, please return to that post.
THIS POST: The Nature of City Council and Staff relations: who is in charge, who answers to who? Kerry Bensman said: "Finding out what is going on in city government is like peeling the onion and putting large puzzles together. Over the years, I have been amazed at what comes to light and how long it takes to get at the information."
Frank Phillips said: "I suggest he speak up at council and make motions to fix what he, as a member of council and therefore one of the leaders of the city, is responsible for. Banging away at staff is like punching yourself in the face."
Alex Schatz said: "it really grates on me that we actually have some discussion of it now when there was deafening silence on making that policy choice iron-clad back in 2005."
Chris Cameron said: "I'm not sure why Councilor Bensman remembers the sole focus of his orientation being on the appropriate way to communicate with staff. It was certainly mentioned in our orientation, but the vast majority of our time was spent learning about the operations and issues critical to the city."
I say staff in any community wields the true power! They all know this! Exhibits A & B: Not having the Rec Center's budget line itemed for analysis in Lafayette; Boulder Utilities Dept. "unable" to detail where an additional $1 million in revenue has come from (not counting the $1 million accidental overcharge to one customer); that's just two off the top of my head...
Check out the bee-yoo-tee-full aerial photo of Lafayette's Walmart with sweeping western views on the cover of the Vegas marketing brochure. Check out the page 4 photo too.
The City sent out details saying Wal-Mart has contracted with DTZ Rockwood LLC to arrange the sale of a number of their properties, including their soon-to-be vacant store in Lafayette. Wal-Mart is also willing to pay a 2% commission to any commercial broker who arranges for the sale of the property.
And then it will sit empty for years. Maybe that's too cynical. But the lack of response to the City's RFP for redevelopment was not a good start to the revamping we'd all like to see.
Read more in the Camera.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
What was May 6, 2007's editorial? " Vandalism does not make you glamorous." Really? You don't say. But wait, you did say, in so many words the opposite with your earlier coverage. So which is it, and why the change of heart? A little heat from the police? Getting the message from your readers? Has graffiti increased since your exposé's hit the stands?
I don't have a lot of sympathy here for a couple of reasons. First, these huge front page stories were not necessarily on slow news days. These seemed like pieces put together earlier sitting around waiting for a dull time to throw out there. Second, after numerous negative letters pointing out the obvious (except to the paper apparently), they put out another story making these graffiti artists seem like misunderstood saints. More negative letters followed.
Now they start their latest editorial blaming vandalism on the weather! It starts out with vandalism at a construction site, but also mentions spray paint and graffiti. It puts the "onus" on law abiding citizens to try to make vandalism harder on the criminals that commit it. How about a little onus on the criminals? How about some more onus on you, the Times-Call, to be a little more responsible with your reporting and commentary?
It gets really rich with the editorial staff asking that these "vandals should take a little pride in their community". Among other things, isn't that what makes them criminals and vandals, a lack of pride in their community? Before you point your finger at law abiding citizens, and even the vandals you've essentially glamorized, take a look in the mirror. You're part of the problem.
Back in 2005 the County did a survey that was a vanguard of data that could support various County level policy changes. I wrote back then about how language in that survey was skewed to help certain results give weight to new policies. If you want my subjective description of the County's assessment of public support for these green building mandates, check out GoArticles.com. To see the full survey results check out the Boulder County website.
An excerpt to give you the gist:
Continuing in the we'll-tell-you-what-you-can-do mode, people said they favored regulations to strengthen historical preservation requirements (75%) and promote energy efficiency and use of renewable energy (89%). The County is hearing loud and clear that people support restrictive guidelines - when people are thinking about others.
When asked a question that turns the thought process back towards themselves, the message Commissioners hear is the opposite. 72% said more emphasis should be placed on individual property rights. This response rate blows a big hole in the integrity of the previous answers. How can the County create policy based on such conflicting sentiments?
I bring it up because some posts continue to be commented on, please check them out individually.
This is a great idea to inventory all the possible properties and then a master list of prioritization can be vetted and the current owners can be notified they have something of value (to some.) We are in the process of doing the same thing regarding open space options. The next step will have to be a funding mechanism for purchase or protection of the structures deemed historically significant. Or the City just tells property owners they're stuck preserving something whether they want to or not.
Sunday, May 06, 2007
An easy way to invite these constant improvements will be for local appeal boards to keep adding effective solutions to our codes and allow owners to assign their own points based on their own preferences. Products that repay their costs in the shortest time will earn the most points. Owners of new and existing buildings will do the most good for mankind by saving the most money — without any need for mandates.and he continues:
Most valuable of all, Boulder County will reverse a dangerous habit of imposing and accepting mandates. Our democracy will then strengthen its ability to resist more tyrannical majorities and leaders during times of crisis or widespread fears.
Also at this same meeting will be a discussion of the results of a community survey on recreation center needs/desires. Perhaps if they build something so spectacular they could work out a no-cost sharing agreement with Louisville. Our Rec Center for your library.
Friday, May 04, 2007
On the front page of the Local News section yesterday is the headline - not kidding - "Woman pelted with powdered doughnut." Today there's a big photo of an 18-year old being led away handcuffed from a lacrosse field with the headline "MHS senior attacks lacrosse player."
The doughnut story reads like something from The Onion, with a vagrant admitting to throwing the stale, "hardened confection" while he was drunk and "just trying to feed squirrels". The student arrested ran onto the field at the end of a lacrosse game to confront another guy he learned had been intimate with his girlfriend. Monarch's principal Barb Spelman regretted such "dishonor."
This sort of news selection for the town's main newspaper is laughable, and not in a good way.
This is a positive compromise compared to the initial reaction from Superior which told Louisville to pound sand when they requested a contribution. When Superior voters defeated a ballot issue last November to fund their own library it made the situation more tense, as Louisville perceived they were being taken advantage of with their brand new public library.
Next year Superior has tentatively agreed to pay $150,000; that could be altered by a task force looking at longer-term solutions.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Carpools and buses ride in them free; otherwise it's pay to ride. If the amount of use the carpool lanes get now are any indication, the request might as well go towards bike paths. They'll be almost as many commuters on each. The US 36 Commuting Solutions Group already is working on the draft EIS of various corridor projects. Which transportation method will you choose to sit in gridlock? Cars, buses, vanpools?
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
From a description of the purpose of the Dialogues last fall:
Dialogues for Immigrant Integration is funded by The Colorado Trust and is part of an ongoing 15-community initiative within the state. In Boulder County, the 20-member steering committee includes the components of the Boulder County Immigrant Collaborative (El Comité of Longmont, El Centro Amistad, and Boulder County Community Action Programs) as well as the cities of Boulder, Longmont, and Lafayette, the St. Vrain and Boulder Valley School districts, and an eclectic mixture of other non-profit organizations, local businesses, and individuals. According to Leslie Irwin, the committee is very active and extremely involved in the initiative because all members believe that it is a necessary and valuable project that will give dividends over its four-year funding period.
Read more in the Colorado Daily.
Forget the war, health care funding or global warming. At least we're arguing about the details and solutions to those things. Immigration is the elephant in the room that has either apathy or demagoguery as its impact. Perhaps because the economic underpinnings of the issues immigration raises are so sweeping, so deeply a part of our preferred quality of life that just considering the issue is too painful, hence total emotional meltdowns or contrived indifference.