Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Slithy Toves

Jabberwock and Jubjub Bird - Jake Jabs and Jonathan Coors `Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe: All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe. Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun The frumious Bandersnatch!" Lewis Carroll - 1872 "... smart voters might want to more carefully examine the current corporate-backed ballot initiatives - Amendments 47, 49 and 54 – which together seek to undermine Colorado’s working environment. The gist of the measures would limit workers’ abilities voice concerns about conditions on the job and undermine their ability to come together to advocate for improvements, whether in the classroom as teachers, as firefighters charged with protecting our communities, or as nurses protecting sick patients amidst increasing corporatization of our health care system. Services that we all rely on would be compromised by such measures.... The chief public proponent of this effort is Jonathan Coors, a 28-year-old member of the Coors brewery clan who holds a position as government relations director for CoorsTek, run by his father John K. Coors, Pete Coors’ brother. Within a couple of months, CoorsTek had doubled its initial contribution and according to documents filed with the Colorado Secretary of State, remains the largest source of money flipped to yet another group, followed by a $200,000 donation from an Arlington, Virginia-based organization called the “Free Enterprise Alliance.” read entire article

The Big Map

(from PCMSNO) New PCMS (Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site) Map In the long battle over the Army's plan to expand the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site, it's known as "The Big Map" because it shows the 238,000-acre training range northeast of Trinidad swelling by millions of acres until it engulfs the entire southeastern corner of Colorado. While Army officials have disowned or dismissed the map over the past two years whenever ranchers fighting the expansion have waved it as the Pentagon's true goal, opponents finally have unearthed the May 2004 study by Fort Carson planners that explains the big map. The study bluntly urges the Army to purchase 6 million acres of private land around Pinon Canyon, plus another 1 million acres of Forest Service land in a multi-phase process, creating the largest Army training reservation in the U.S. The plan puts the land acquisition costs at roughly $1 billion and says that 17,263 people in five counties would be "displaced." And the first step in that "big map" calls for the Army to purchase 80,000 acres directly south of the current Pinon Canyon site, which is almost exactly what Army officials announced they would settle for in July. At public meetings in Trinidad, Army officials said they would settle for 100,000 acres or even less, directly south of Pinon Canyon, rather than continue the battle to expand by 414,000 acres - a battle that had spilled into Congress and the General Assembly as ranchers and their supporters fought the expansion. The opposition group, Not 1 More Acre, is challenging the Army in U.S. District Court in Denver over its environmental studies of the current Pinon Canyon site. In pursing that lawsuit, the group obtained the 2004 Fort Carson report earlier this month. "When we first started showing the big map around in 2006, the the Army's reaction was disdain," said Mack Louden, a Branson-area rancher and a board member of Not 1 More Acre. "They've been denying it was a real expansion map all along. But here it is, part of a 2004 report, and it says they need 6.9 million acres. That's the stark reality. You don't want to believe the government would do this to you, but here's the study." Fort Carson officials on Monday referred questions to the Pentagon, where an Army spokesman dismissed the 2004 Fort Carson report as "silly." "We write tons of plans, most of them are never followed," he said. "That study was never adopted by the Army." Lon Robertson, a Kim-area rancher and president of the Pinon Canyon Expansion Opposition Coalition, said the ranchers have made good use of the big map over the past two years - with and without the Army's acknowledged authorship. "But getting our hands on the actual report proves what we've been saying all along," Robertson said. "The Army wants an ungodly amount of land down here in Southern Colorado and beyond. And the first step in the big map is the same one the Army has said it will 'settle' for today. Maybe the people in the cities will start to understand why we don't trust anything the Army says." The May 2004 Fort Carson study, titled "Analysis of Alternatives Study Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site," is explicit, saying Pinon Canyon is the most attractive site in the U.S. for creating a "Joint Forces" training area that would allow the Army to use all its weaponry in large-scale, live-fire maneuvers. The 7 million-acre expansion was estimated to displace residents in Las Animas, Otero, Baca, Bent and Prowers counties. The study echoes what Army officials have said in public meetings about Pinon Canyon - that planners believe the Army is 5 million acres short in training space nationally. The Fort Carson report apparently recommended the Army remedy that entire shortfall through a bigger Pinon Canyon. In detailing Pinon Canyon's assets, the report said the training area has eight parachute drop zones, a 5,000-foot landing strip and a railhead that can handle 165 railcars at a time. "Given its size, remote location, diverse terrain, and infrastructure, PCMS far surpasses the training experience of any Combat Training Center in the (U.S.)," the report said. Currently, the Army is prohibited by Congress from spending any 2009 funds on the expansion effort, although senior Army officials said last summer they intend to go ahead and solicit landowners to determine if there are willing sellers among the landowners south of Pinon Canyon. This map animation was introduced into the record at the DEIS public input hearing Wednesday, October 29, 2008 History Part 1 Part 2 Recent Fire (Rep. Wes McKinley, June, 2008)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

And now for something completely different….

A while back I mentioned a project I was working on that was different from the talking heads usually presented here. I am pleased to announce that the project is now finished ……. And here it is for your last-days-before-the-election Halloween enjoyment.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Obama in Denver, Civic Center Park, 10-26-08 Part 1

Double click to go to YouTube where you can watch in better quality and rate the video. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Denver Assessor: Home Values Predicted to Fall $1,599,405,852 in 2009

101 High Street,Denver, CO 80218 $4,780,000, est. monthly payment: $22,926.81, 7 br, 8 full baths
One of the facts to come out of the presentation of the Denver Assessor’s Office at the City Council Finance Committee meeting of Oct. 15 was that the value of all of the single family homes in Denver, currently assessed at about $40 billion, will decrease by about $1.6 billion. That’s down about -4%, but when you add in the increase from new construction, that number falls to about -2.4%. Not bad. But what about condos? There is no number on the spreadsheet for the projected fall in the condo price. Further inquiry needed. From Department Head Paul Jacobs (prompt) email answer: “Regarding the missing Condominium number, my office has nine different valuation models (equations) that predict various price ranges and types of condominiums. In the current market higher-valued condos are pointing up while the values of entry-level condos are down. As a blended category, the net predicted change for 2009 is very close to zero change. I apologize that a “0” was inadvertently left off our chart. However, the subtotal for all residential properties remains the same (an overall decrease of 0.6% when compared to the City’s last Reassessment Program).” Answer: no change. And what about that nagging question I keep having: Is the valuation reset when a new owner takes over? Nope. Paul Jacobs answers: “…assessments city wide are adjusted to then-current market levels every two years using groups of sales and are not normally changed between Reassessment cycles. Any mid-cycle value change exceptions would only account for physical changes like demolition, construction, land subdivision or tax exemption changes. Although any group of sales in our analysis may include a sale of the subject (a single property being discussed or valued), the subject’s sale alone does not become its new assessment. This is standard appraisal practice and strives to set assessments in the middle of a range of similar properties and avoids undue influence of the highest, lowest or subject sale prices.” This seems weird to me – you just bought a house and the assessed value is based on comparables – other sales of similar properties – but not the value just determined by the marketplace – what you just paid. Oh well. “This is standard appraisal practice…”, and it renders my previous research moot. Given the two-year lag time built into the system, these effects won’t start showing up until 2010. Unless you appeal, that is. If and when you do that, remember that you’ll be looking at past history, not what is happening now. Good luck. (Ed. Note: The Assessor’s Office seems very cooperative – lo and behold, they even list their email addresses on their website, and their presentation to Council was very responsive. You may hate the results of what they do, but you have to respect their professionalism. Tip o’the hat to the Denver Assessor’s office, headed up by Paul Jacobs, and to the most responsive Councilwoman Jeanne Faatz.)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lowry Vista: the Women in White vs. the Men in Black

IRG "Men in Black" confer during Anderson's testimony. by Adrienne Anderson The Glendale Cherry Creek Chronicle has recently published a front page story in its October 2008 issue - just mailed to thousands of residents throughout east Denver - entitled "Secret $1 Million Payoff Greases the Skids for IRG Zoning." (Go to the bottom of this post for a scanned copy of the entire article, which the Chronicle does not provide in its entirety in its online version.) Curious, though, how the Glendale Cherry Creek Chronicle fails to mention two important facts: 1) The document (LAC's Oversight Agreement) which formed the basis for their front page story had already been presented to the Denver City Council on August 22, 2008 by a member of the Rangeview Neighborhood Association, Linda Rea, who - wearing a white suit - testified to Council on the basis of the documents obtained. The conclusion of Ms. Rea and the neighborhood group committee tasked with reviewing the land deal? That IRG's acquisition of the Lowry Vista property "looked like a dirty deal." Linda Rea testifies before Denver City Council Rea's testimony was further bolstered by another leader from the same neighborhood, Damoni Rems, who also wore a white suit as she questioned the city's rush to push forward the creation of a special district for IRG to begin laying the underground infrastructure for their proposed residential and commercial development. International Risk Group bought the land for $10 (see this post), after the City of Denver declined to take title to it, records show, citing the extent of the parcel's environmental liabilities. Damoni Rems testifies before Denver City Council 2) Also unmentioned by the Glendale Cherry Creek Chronicle - which in the same issue publishes a "Letter to the Editor" from a citizen wondering why the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News have not covered this story - once again makes no mention of the elephant in the room, that the former U.S. Air Force property is a radioactive waste dump. IRG is now seeking approval of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to dig 60 holes into its "hot" property - which CDPHE has previously said had to remain covered up to prevent exposure to the dump's contents and not to be irrigated so as to minimize further infiltration into the dump and further contamination of the groundwater beyond. Given these developments, perhaps it's time for a more comprehensive citizens' investigation to dig further into not only what's been done behind the scenes with our city officials over this property and plans for its use, but what lurks below, and who could be put at risk while digging it up. (Ed. note: And here's Adrienne Anderson herself testifying at the same City Council meeting.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Home for a Crisis

(From the Panorama newsletter of 5280) As the economic crisis unfolds in scary ways, there's an apparently good hiccup in the Colorado housing market. The number of unsold homes hit its lowest level since December 2005, according to the Rocky Mountain News, and the number of homes contracted for sale jumped nearly 22 percent from a year ago. If you're a buyer, there's good news: Average and median sales prices have slipped back to 2002 levels. And if you're a seller, don't fret. It's "the mix of homes" that's skewing the numbers. Foreclosure filings are down by nearly 25 percent for the third quarter compared to a year ago, according to this Rocky story, which warns "the decrease does not signal that the metro region is off its record foreclosure pace." Rather, a new state law appears to be helping homeowners through counseling services and requirements that borrowers receive at least 30 days' notice before interest rates are hiked or a foreclosure is filed. Despite some apartment vacancies, rents are expected to rise by 3.5 percent, to $918 per month on average, although discount programs bring that amount to $804 a month, according to the Denver Business Journal.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Are we Really Stupid?

by Matt Bergles The impetus for this article came from several real-life experiences and a lifelong commitment to making a difference in how we Americans elect candidates, as well as how we formulate, enact and implement public policy at all levels of government. The most immediate experience came as a losing candidate from Denver’s House District 8 in the 2008 Democratic primary. I ran for many reasons, not the least of which was a disgust with the politics of who’s in and who’s out, who can raise the most money, who has the most connections and name recognition and who can create the best sound bites. I listened, walked and talked my way across countless miles and thousands of doorsteps and attended a multitude of neighborhood meetings, political events, church services and block parties. I also brought a plethora of real-life experiences that I thought were germane to serving in a “citizen legislature.” I’d been a high school teacher and coach for 27 years, had a Ph.D. in Public Affairs, was a former blue collar worker, a faithful Catholic Christian, a lifelong sportsman/conservationist and a husband and father among many other things. I thought that with a solid background, the ability to speak intelligently about pertinent issues, hard work and passion, I could certainly prevail. I was wrong. My opponent, the victor, brought many fine qualities and experiences as well and has been, and I’m sure will continue to be, a fine public servant. I was not ashamed to lose to her; I respect her and wish her well. The campaign experience however, aggravated a long simmering inquisitiveness I’ve had about the problems within the American political system and helped synthesize and focus the big picture experientially, whereas before it was merely conceptual. I will try to briefly summarize that picture as I conceive it and offer a possible remedy. My candidacy allowed me to meet a cross-section of voters from every possible ethnic and socio-economic group and helped form a clear picture of what is happening concerning elections and policymaking in our state, and at the risk of over-generalizing, our Republic. The day of my loss – exhausted and frustrated – I began to mentally review my campaign, its organization, fundraising, voter outreach etc. in an effort to surmise what I might have done better to attain victory. Serendipitously, a successful political consultant and old friend called from across the country to console me and debrief what happened. After the usual postmortem, he mentioned a book that he said explained the real reason for my loss and why our political system is in such disrepair. “I’m sending you Just How Stupid Are We? Facing the Truth About the American Voter, by Rick Shenkman” he said. “You’ll see that it’s not you at all. Who could have been a better candidate and run a better campaign than you? It is the fault of people we allow to vote in this country. They’re ignorant, lazy, uneducated on the issues and are easily swayed by gimmicks; if they even bother to register, let alone vote at all.” “That’s it, he’s right” I thought, as countless questions and comments I had encountered throughout my campaign began to resurface in my mind such as: “There’s an election?” “Can you get my neighbors to make their dog stop barking?” “Can you make a set of hitchhiking hand signals?” “Can you end the war in Iraq?” “Are you on City Council as a State Representative?” “Do I have to register?’ “I just saw you on TV, you’re the guy running against McCain, right?” “You’ve got my vote, I always vote for the Democrat (remember, this was a primary, all of the candidates on the ballot were Democrats)!” The title of the book alone conveniently let me off the hook for any responsibility in my loss and validated my candidacy. I immediately concluded that stupid voters were the reason for my electoral demise and the demise of the entire system. I smugly hung up the phone and waited for the book to arrive so I could read it and end my mental maelstrom, validate my superiority as a candidate and ruminate about the stupid voters in this district, state and nation! I did read Just How Stupid Are We? Facing the Truth About the American Voter, and there is some truth to be gleaned from it to be sure. But as time went by and the sting of my loss diminished, my thoughts broadened to encompass a wide array of questions concerning the present state of the American electorate and thus, of our republic. Obviously, voters share a large part of the blame. But what about the people they elect? What about the media? What about our public schools, colleges and universities? How about the billions of dollars spent to influence elections and those elected? Why is incumbency so powerful? Why can’t partisans let go of their entrenched allegiance and embrace the best evidence and therefore, the best candidates? I set out to find answers to these and other questions and once found, prescribe recommendations to put our republic back on track and asked how do we get from here to there? From the dismal state of the American political system that has, in turn, resulted in the dismal state of our economy, our foreign relations, our natural environment our public educational institutions and culture. To, a country of thoughtful and respectful citizens engaged in informed, lively, yet civil dialogue and debate – absent the politics of personal and party destruction – focused exclusively on forming a more perfect union. Impossible? Naïve? Maybe. But what is the alternative to striving for such a goal? A continuation of what today passes for democracy? Such as: Over a billion dollars spent on a mostly negative presidential campaign. Several hundred million more spent on mostly negative congressional, state and local campaigns that produce victorious candidates who barely have time to write a victory speech, let alone contemplate sound public policy before the reelection campaign begins. Thoughtful policy with an eye toward improving people’s lives and the community that is today superceded with policies that satisfy and enrich well-heeled interest groups. Citizens who can tell you the latest celebrity divorce details but don’t know the latest American casualty figures from Iraq. People who still believe that Al-Quaeda and Saddam Hussein worked together in the 9/11 attacks. As further demonstration, on the right, many people believe that guns are as American as apple pie and there should be no limits to their purchase, ownership or use – even bazookas and machine guns. They bombastically declare that the decay of our public schools is the fault of greedy, unionized teachers. We see people of faith who have been duped into believing that science is evil and have conveniently stopped thinking so as to actually espouse that the earth is only 6,000 years old, the theory of evolution is anti-Christian and global warming is a liberal conspiracy. They’re convinced that being “conservative” and pro-life means allowing the government to tell women that they must carry all pregnancies to term, no matter their personal circumstances. Yes, God is against abortion and euthanasia, but killing thousands of American service men and women and upwards of 100 thousand innocent Iraqi civilians in a war based on lies passes for patriotism. And let’s make sure we put all of those murderers, rapists and thieves to death in direct defiance of the First Commandment. Oh yes, a healthy planet is necessary to sustain life and the root word of “conservative” and “conservatism” is “conserve,” and there is that pesky Noah story; but people who advocate for solving global warming or saving our fellow dwindling species are environmental whackos. Never mind that there are over 6 billion people (and growing) on the planet and less than 1,000 blue whales. On the left, there are still those who believe that the Monica Lewinsky affair was only part of a vast right wing conspiracy. President Clinton did nothing wrong. After all, look at the adultery statistics among American males, he only did what millions of American men do – or wish they could do. Some on the left still hold that more money and bigger government can solve every problem. That with more caring, less structure and more programs in our public schools, kids are going to magically learn without adult guidance outside of the schools. That anybody should be able marry anyone and everyone and thousands of years of legal precedent be damned. That capitalism is evil and wealth should be equalized through a government formula. The list of fantasies – on both ends of the spectrum – goes on infinitely. So, how do we fix this problem? Shenkman is short-sighted in his prescription, calling for more civic education. I’ve been there and done that, teaching high school social studies for 27 years. It isn’t working. He is right in naming the root problem of our ignorant electorate: Americans would rather consume material stuff rather than news and information. So, we have to figure out a way to put elections in the hands of those who truly care to inform themselves and make sound voting decisions. In my mind, this means achieving two fundamental things, getting money out of politics and shortening the time allowed for campaigns. The problem of course, is that numerous court decisions, especially Buckley v. Valeo, have upheld spending and time spent campaigning as First Amendment rights. So be it. Volunteerism is the key. Right now, the best prescription seems to be in the “clean elections” movement, a voluntary program that is meeting with some success in Arizona and Maine. Under a Clean Elections system, candidates who want to receive public financing must collect a certain number of small "qualifying contributions" (often as little as $5) from registered voters. In return, they are paid a flat sum by the government to conduct their campaigns, and in turn, agree not to raise money from private sources. Candidates who are outspent by privately funded opponents may receive additional public matching funds. Since candidates may refuse government funding and continue to rely on voluntary contributions without spending caps, clean elections appear to be in line with the Supreme Court's Buckley v. Valeo decision, which struck down mandatory spending limits as an unconstitutional restriction on free speech and affirmed that elections can be publicly financed. As a life long Democrat and union member, I’m concerned that small contributions by lots of members may lose out, thus will the voices of working people. However, “clean election” legislation can certainly be tailored so as to protect small group bundling, or penalize large contributors equally. I simply want people to attend debates, read position papers and vote accordingly instead of letting commercials, yard signs and gimmicks inform their decisions. This sort of reform, it seems to me, is what our system needs. Matt Bergles 10/20/08

Friday, October 17, 2008


Once again I want to thank Councilwoman Jeanne Faatz for her responsiveness (same day!) to my questions and for getting to the heart of the matter in the meeting of the Finance Committee on Oct 15 (and thanks again to Channel 8 for televising it). I think I now understand exactly what is going on at the Assessor’s office and why foreclosures won’t lower the City’s property tax revenue. I may now understand it, but I still don’t like it. You can educate yourself by watching the video at Denver Channel 8 online (click on the Oct 15 video). It starts at about 52 minutes and lasts about an hour. Denver IS different. (Councilwoman Faatz also provided me with the PowerPoint presentation from which the following is drawn.) Here is the answer: If I understand this correctly, those foreclosed upon houses on your block will not lower your assessed value (although they are decimating your potential resale value) because they are systematically excluded. I originally asked this question because a friend bought a bank-owned property for $35,000 that had been previously assessed at $161,000. Silly me, I thought this would mean that the property tax would reset to the new lower value. But I guess not. This means that if, like me, you are currently stuck with an assessed value on your home which was set during the real estate frenzy at an unrealistically high value, your only hope is to appeal after January 1, 2009. That's what I'm going to do. I'm even going to get one of those lawyers who specialize in this. I'll let you know how it comes out. Here is the entire slide presentation: So, just as I learned that the toxic water filling Grasmere Lake in City Park is rigged by Regulation 31, I now learn that the property tax system is rigged to allow foreclosed properties to be excluded when computing your tax. Aaarghhh! Everything is rigged. My head is exploding!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

More Facts About Insane Pot Policy

NORML Marks 20 Millionth Pot Arrest: Tragic Marijuana Milestone Will Take Place This Friday Washington, DC: Law enforcement will make its 20 millionth marijuana arrest this Friday, October 10th, according to data compiled by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and extrapolated by NORML. The FBI provides annual marijuana arrest data dating back to 1965. “Police have arrested 19.3 million Americans for marijuana violations in the years between 1965 and 2007 - busting a record 872,000 last year alone,” NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said. “At this pace, law enforcement will make their 20 millionth arrest this month, and will begin busting over one million cannabis consumers annually by 2010.” Of those arrested, an estimated 90 percent are charged with minor marijuana possession - not trafficking, cultivation, or sale. Three out of every four arrestees are under 30 years old. “This policy is a tremendous waste of taxpayers' resources; it destroys the lives of millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens, and threatens the personal liberties and freedoms of all Americans,” St. Pierre said. “We've now arrested more American citizens for pot than the entire population of Massachusetts, Michigan, and Oregon combined.” Speaking last month on C-Span, Drug Czar John Walters denied FBI data indicating that hundreds of thousands of Americans are arrested each year for pot violations, claiming: "We didn't arrest 800,000 marijuana users. That's [a] lie." NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano recently responded to the Drug Czar's remarks in the Washington DC publication The Hill in an essay entitled, “How Can We Even Discuss Marijuana Policy When America's Top Drug Cop Won't Even Acknowledge The Facts?” More than 240 readers have commented on NORML's essay. Fewer than five respondents have commented in support of the criminal prohibition of cannabis. To date, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy has not responded to NORML's rebuttal, nor has it issued a retraction for the Drug Czar's statements.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Homing In On It

Thanks to Jeanne Faatz (the only City Council member who seems to understand finance) for the following, an excerpt from the previous post which I feel needs to be stressed. Note particularly the information that 1) your valuation of real property may be going down (but not in 2009 unless you appeal) and 2) your mill levy may be going up. Also see this: The measures followed similar efforts by other central banks and governments around the world over the weekend and yesterday to get financial institutions to stop hoarding money and start lending to one another and to their customers. While Europe struggled to stop new bank failures, in the United States, alarm has increasingly focused on the commercial paper market, where all sorts of businesses and local and state governments turn for money for day-to-day operations. For the past week, that market has been nearly paralyzed, and yesterday, the cost of such borrowing soared. One benefit of such an action is that it would free up money for lending and lower the interest rates banks pay to borrow money to conduct business. Yesterday, the rate at which banks lend to one another -- the London interbank offered rate, or Libor -- was 4.3 percent for a three-month loan. In normal times, it would be not much higher than the 2 percent bank lending rate set by the Fed. The premium is a measurement of the mistrust among banks and translates into higher rates for businesses and consumers, if they can get loans at all. And this: In a survey of more than 300 municipalities released last month, the National League of Cities reported that four out of five finance officers said their cities would be less able to meet needs in 2009 than this year. The group called the findings troubling, with no sign of getting better. “This is the first time for at least two decades that all three major general tax sources — property, income and sales — have all declined at the same time,” said Michael A. Pagano, a co-author of the report and dean of the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois, Chicago. “That’s the real frightening thing for cities.” And this: AMSTERDAM/LONDON (Reuters) - What if there were a run on a bank and no one knew? In recent days some U.S. media have focused on a "silent run" on the deposits of Wachovia bank, which is now being taken over, after a bailout plan stalled and its rival Washington Mutual was seized.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Bond Age

Thanks to Denver’s Channel 8 and the City Council Bond Implementation Committee for bringing us up to date (as of 9-22-08) regarding the current state of the Better Denver Bonds, which, as you may know, I’ve been trying to follow closely. My emails to Better Denver via their website and to Councilman Doug Linkhart have to date, brought no response, and I was beginning to get nervous, what with the “market turmoil” we are currently experiencing. It sounds to me like everything was going pretty smoothly at the time of this meeting. We won’t be issuing any bonds (until late in 2009?) but we have already saved a million dollars by issuing commercial paper (borrowing) at the low rates of 1.5 and 1.85% per annum (not per month as I incorrectly assumed in a previous post). I’m not sure how this is possible with the Fed Funds Rate at 2.00, but hey, let’s just keep rolling this over if we can. And oh, by the way, our financial partner/broker is Wachovia, currently being fought over by Citi Corp and Wells Fargo as it goes under. What if any effect will this have on Denver is unclear. Stay tuned – the next meeting is Oct. 27, and I’ll get it to you as soon as it is available. Tech note: Often when downloading from Channel 8 I get slippage between the picture and sound, so I have to adjust the sync before posting to YouTube. It seems to wax and wane, so what you see is the best fit I can get.

Friday, October 3, 2008

House Passes Bogus Bailout Bill

Congress Pats Itself on the Back - Dow, Not So Much Let’s see of I’ve got this right. The credit market is freezing up, after 12 years of gorging, de-regulation, naked shorting, and the creation of fantasy “derivative” instruments, because bankers won’t lend to each other because they don’t trust each other, and have raised their own interest rates considerably. The “spread”, as they call it, is speading. No one knows which bank is going to be the next to go down, because banks are, apparently, not very transparent. Now, in order to protect the bankers from the higher intra-bank interest rates that they themselves ginned up, we, the US taxpayers are agreeing to buy up their bad, nearly worthless shit, to provide the “liquidity” they need to continue making money. If we can sell it later, we might recoup some of the money. Or maybe not.
Here is the former CEO of Goldman Sachs, one Henry Paulson, himself the beneficiary of the gorging to the tune of his $700,000,000 net worth, now Secretary of the Treasury in the lying Bush administration, telling us if we don’t do what he says we are going to suffer a catastrophe of unknown proportions. It doesn’t really matter that this “rescue” bill has now passed, as the correction coming upon us now is like a force of nature – it cannot be stopped. You can run from it, you can seek higher ground, you can try to batten down your hatches, but like a hurricane, it will come. This $700 billion is (plus $600 billion already doled out) amazingly, a drop in the bucket compared to the unknown size of the derivatives market which must now be unwound. I’ve seen estimates between $300 trillion and as high as $600 trillion. Did you notice the 2-hour (and then extended) opening of the derivatives market on Sunday, Sept 14th? This before Lehman went under, presumably to allow the players some time to scurry out of the way of the hurricane. Yesterday I got word of two local Denver businesses closing their doors and a third, usually bustling with business, with very few customers. The tide has turned. Americans are battening down, spending less, saving more. Although perhaps “painful” to those used to living high on the hog from "financial services", this is a good thing. You cannot correct a prolonged period of loose credit, low interest, and insane buying of Chinese gee-gaws with an increase in credit. You may prolong the collapse, but more credit cannot correct the problem created by too much credit. For more, go here.

New Voter Registration Situation

SquareState has reported on more from our Chief Fox in the Henhouse, Mike Coffman, our combo Secretary of State/Candidate for HD6, who apparently sent out a memo to the County Clerks that certain voter registration applications should be rejected for the confusion resulting from a checkbox not being checked if the applicant is using the last four digits from their Social Security number. As I understand it, on the new voter registration form, you have 3 ways to identify yourself Driver’s license Colorado ID Last four digits of SSN If you chose the SSN option, the box stating you do not have the first two must be checked. Coffman has issued a memo stating that if the SSN is used and the box is not checked, the application should be rejected. Apparently some people, having a CO license or ID, but not having it with them at the time and not remembering their number, chose the SSN option but did not check the box. These applications will be rejected, but now we learn from Spencer Ross at Democratic Headquarters that the applicant will be notified by mail and have 30 days to correct the "problem". This is what happens when the ridiculous situation of having the fox, Coffman, in charge of an election in which he is a candidate, is allowed to stand. If you are in doubt, check your status here.