Friday, March 31, 2006
I wonder: How much of this money will work its way up into East Cleveland? Over to Glenville? Let's start keeping track. Let's help redefine "risk."
And, by the way, we don't need any more "affordable housing." We already have it, tons of it, and we just need to fix it up--"waste not, want not" should be our motto, just like in the old days. We also don't need any more "market-rate" housing, the new buzz-word for the type of residential unit which, when built, leaves two or three (figures, anyone?) existing houses vacant, and does so on a tax-abated basis.
I heard yesterday that Cleveland will collect $800,000 less in property taxes this year than last, and the city income taxes are flat--none of the anticipated gain is showing up.
It's time to end the con.
Thursday, March 30, 2006
So where are we going to eat?
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
In a recently published book, Blue Ocean Strategy (www.blueoceanstrategy.com), authors W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne discuss how they think most companies’ business strategies are missing the mark. After studying 150 strategic
moves made from 1880-2000 in more than 30 industries, they suggest that, rather than finding ways to beat the competition using current rules (a “red ocean” or
“bloody strategy”), that companies instead look for blue oceans where there is
no competition. As the authors state more eloquently, “The only way to
beat the competition is to stop trying to beat the competition…In blue oceans,
competition is irrelevant because the rules of the game are waiting to be
set…corporate strategy is heavily influenced by its roots in military
strategy…confronting an opponent and fighting over a piece of land that is both
limited and constant.”
The basic tenet of blue ocean strategy is to make the competition irrelevant by creating a leap in value for buyers and your company which must include innovation. Without innovation, the result is just incremental sales. Innovation without value is too futuristic and not of interest to the mainstream or early majority. “Value innovation occurs only when companies align innovation with utility, price and cost…pursue differentiation and low cost simultaneously.” The basic tenets are:
1. Eliminate high cost services that are not highly valued
2. Reduce others
3. Raise or focus on some
4. Create new ones
The best way to understand the concept is to review a couple of examples. Cirque du Soleil is arguably a circus but, rather than compete with Barnum and Bailey, they decided to compete in a blue ocean. They eliminated high cost features
like star performers, animal shows and multiple arenas while reducing thrill and
danger. Instead they focused on unique venues and created theme based
shows, artistic music and dance, multiple productions and a refined
environment. Performers were recruited from the ranks of world class
gymnasts that had no future after competition. Cirque saw themselves
competing against Broadway shows or other high class entertainment, not
circuses. Southwest Airlines eliminated food, lounges, seating class and
hubs while focusing on cost, speed, friendly service and frequent point to point
departures. They saw themselves competing against driving, not traditional
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
We need to interject some studies into this discussion, studies of effects
of casinos on areas where they're already operational. I don't have any at hand.
They do exist, and perhaps somebody can provide a link or two.
One finding is that casinos bring little or no new money to an area--they suck up existing
discretionary income, and that includes what people normally spend in local
restaurants and bars. Contrary to the pitches of the casino-mongers, the
Ratner-types of this world, existing local businesses do not prosper when
casinos come to town. In this regard, casinos have an economic impact much the
same as Wal-Mart.
Another finding is that casinos put a strain on social-service spending and cost us all way more of a tax burden there. I'm thinking of the effect of the Tunica, Mississippi casino complex and it's effect on the social services of Memphis, Tennessee. People work in Tunica, either in the casino economy or the underground economy, get few or no employee benefits, and return to their homes in Memphis, where they become recipients of social
services, compliments of the taxpayer.
Casinos also cost the local economy in the costs of development, the incentives they exact from the local politicians.
Casinos are economic parasites. They take indirectly from those who don't gamble as well as directly from those who gamble. We need to examine the numbers in all future discussions. There is a dearth of numbers in this dialogue.
Monday, March 27, 2006
'We have our image of people retiring and they move,' said Elinor Ginzler, director for livable communities at AARP.
'That's the national myth. The reality is ... most people don't move,' she said. 'Community is incredibly important to our older citizens. They feel connected to their community.'
A quieter part of a major metropolitan area anchored by a large city, often in a warmer climate, is a popular relocating-retiree choice.
'Generally, people are moving from metropolitan counties where there are dense populations to other metropolitan counties that are less dense,' said Ron Manheimer, director of the University of North Carolina's Center for Creative Retirement in Asheville, N.C"
Plight Deepens for Black Men, Studies Warn (March 20, 2006)
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Saturday, March 25, 2006
We've known this guy Pat Clancy since the 1960s and watched his evolution, and things just seem to keep getting better. Why don't we have this same quality of development in the Cleveland area?
I wanted to dredge up this quote-from-the-past to see how it plays, especially downstate.
Then, as he reveals in the same post, titled 'Google Finance: Yawn (Updated: Wow),' he tried it again, and decided that Yahoo had better act quickly to improve Yahoo Finance or else its 'richest, most valuable finance user base' (investment professionals) will 'vaporize.'"
Friday, March 24, 2006
Another Ferris to the rescue, with the apt comment. Must be genetic.
Seems like everybody's waitin' For the new change.... You can understand everything to share. Let your spirits dance brothers everywhere. Let your head be free, Turn the wisdom key, Find it naturally. See you're lucky to be....Time for you to all get down, Yeah do it Get ready....Dig this sound Spinnin' round and round and round. Do it. You can understand
everything's to share. Let your spirits dance brother everywhere, Let your head be
free, Turn the wisdom key, Find it naturally, see your lucky to be, Sing it now. Time
for you to all get down. Yeah do it. Get ready, get ready, get ready, get ready
Get ready, get ready, get ready, get ready Singing it now Time for you to all
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
"...National City last year went on a mission, saying it planned to boost profits by hundreds of millions of dollars a year by increasing revenue and cutting expenses. Profits last year dropped by 29 percent after the bank enjoyed blockbuster years during the refinance boom.
With its points program, National City wants mostly to expand the business it does with existing customers. But the points program is also aimed at attracting new customers, both consumers and small businesses.
National City, one of the 10 largest banks nationwide, declined to say how much the rewards program will cost but said it's expected to be profitable in the second year.... "
"...It used to be open a new account and get a toaster," said Woker, of Morningstar Inc. But rewards like Bose stereos, mountain bikes and restaurant gift cards - all of which National City is offering - are a big step up, he said.
The venture demonstrates the value in getting low-cost or no-cost deposits that the bank can lend to others, he said, and shows how much banks love having customers with multiple accounts. "They'll be locked into your bank potentially for decades," Woker said....
All right, who ultimately pays for this cozy little discount? How does it work? Where is the cost shifted? Enquiring minds need to know.
"According to Towers Perrin, 48 percent of the companies surveyed are likely to freeze their plans if they produce a hit to earnings; 43 percent are likely do so in response to a rise in cost of capital or a lower credit rating; and 33 percent will probably take action in the face of a dropping share price. Thirty-two percent of the companies surveyed had already closed their plans to new entrants. (Towers Perrin didn't specify whether a "freeze" refers to halting current employees from receiving new credit for future benefits, refusing pension benefits to new employees, or both.)
"In general, the trigger for freezing plans appears to be a drain on cash flow so severe that other cherished corporate programs are threatened with cuts. Things have gotten serious when "the pension plan becomes a competing interest for cash within the organization," says Cecil Hemingway, who heads the pension-legacy solutions department at the actuarial and risk-management-consulting firm. In particular, pension plans would not be allowed to continue if they began to drain funds away from share buyback programs or investments in plant and equipment, he adds.
"And if Congress passes a law mandating that plan sponsors fund 100 percent of pension obligations, as it's likely to do, then many companies could be freezing their plans soon. Both Senate and House versions of the legislation reportedly demand full funding, a measure that President Bush is likely to support. Under current law, pension sponsors must fund 90 percent of their plans' obligations."
Was there any mention of any of this in The Cleveland PLAIN DEALER? I couldn't find anything myself.
Zaidan, 74, who once described Arshinkoff, 51, in print as a 'quick-witted sumo wrestler with inexhaustible energy,' remembers Arshinkoff just beginning in politics, in the early 1970s.
Arshinkoff was a college student who had a job cleaning toilets at the courthouse when he walked into the Beacon Journal newsroom and met Zaidan.... "
Here's a little background material for tomorrow's MeetTheBloggers interview with Jim Petro, another wrestler. Thanks to the Columbus Dispatch this past Sunday, though, I also know that Petro has another skill set--he sews:
Petro, a heavyweight wrestler in high school and college, also sews and tailors clothes for himself and his wife. In fact, Mrs. Petro said her parents gave him a sewing machine for graduating from law school.
"He was always borrowing my mother’s," she said.
Petro said he learned to sew as a child when he went to his mother to sew on a button and she showed him how to do it himself instead.
Cleveland added an office of consumer affairs to do the work attorneys and nonprofits already do and still plans to do away with Ladder 42 in Old Brooklyn, one of its last semi-stable middle-class neighborhoods. Go figure, as they say in New York.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
I'll be honest - the thing I don't get about blogs is, basically, who gives a shit what most people think? It's so...solipsistic...just because you own a computer, do I have to be privy to every brain fart you have? I'm sounding like a real luddite here of course - but I personally think blogs are a fad, and there's so much noise, with volume (sorry, crappy pun) increasing hourly...Maybe I should start a blog about blogs...so all the antibloggers could blog about blogs. And Wiki's. And the next cutesy bullshit thing that's coming our way, courtesy of the internet. Oh..maybe one day we'll have to get a permit, like you do to drive or get married. Control the masses somehow.
Monday, March 20, 2006
After graduating from Dartmouth, Mr. Beutel went to the University of Michigan Law School but left after a year to pursue journalism. He got a radio job in Cleveland and then came to CBS radio in New York."
Again, another harbinger of a correction--as the pendulum swings back.
This state of affairs helped inspire Stephen Miller's new book, 'Conversation: A History of a Declining Art' (Yale, $27.50). Mr. Miller, who is a contributing editor to The Wilson Quarterly, finds countertrends, as well — Internet communities that lead to new forms of conversation, diverse gatherings in which disagreements become an expected aspect of conversation. But, he writes, the 'forces sapping conversation seem stronger than the forces nourishing it.' So Mr. Miller, in response, is recounting another kind of conversation that has taken place over the centuries, one whose subject is conversation itself."
All right! It looks like BFD and MTB are off to a good start as "countertrends," those necessary adjustments civilization makes to bring itself back into balance.
In the business of building or re-building community, isn't open dialogue the foundation?
Isn't this the same way the pyramid-selling structures work--Amway, Mary Kay, Tupperware, Primerica/A. L. Williams?
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Robin Williams, wearing a shirt that says "I love New York" in Arabic.
You gotta love Robin Williams......Even if he's nuts! Leave it to Robin Williams to come up with the perfect plan. What we need now is for our UN Ambassador to stand up and repeat this message.
Robin Williams' plan...(Hard to argue with this logic!)
I see a lot of people yelling for peace, but I have not heard of a plan for peace. So, here's one plan.
1) The US will apologize to the world for our "interference" in their affairs, past present. You know, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Tojo, Noriega, Milosevic, Hussein, and the rest of those "good ole boys", we will never "interfere" again.
2) We will withdraw our troops from all over the world, starting with Germany, South Korea, the Middle East, and the Philippines.
They don't want us there. We would station troops at our borders. No one allowed sneaking through holes in the fence.
3) All illegal aliens have 90 days to get their affairs together and leave. We'll give them a free trip home. After 90 days the remainder will be gathered up and deported immediately, regardless of whom or where they are. They're illegal!!! France will welcome them.
4) All future visitors will be thoroughly checked and limited to 90 days unless given a special permit!!!! No one from a terrorist nation will be allowed in. If you don't like it there, change it yourself and don't hide here. Asylum would never be available to anyone. We don't need any more cab drivers or 7-11 cashiers.
5) No foreign "students" over age 21. The older ones are the bombers. If they don't attend classes, they get a "D" and it's back home baby.
6) The US will make a strong effort to become self-sufficient energy wise. This will include developing nonpolluting sources of energy but will require a temporary drilling of oil in the Alaskan wilderness. The caribou will have to cope for a while.
7) Offer Saudi Arabia and other oil producing countries $10 a barrel for their oil. If they don't like it, we go someplace else. They can go somewhere else to sell their production. (About a week of the wells filling up the storage sites would be enough.)
8) If there is a famine or other natural catastrophe in the world, we will not "interfere." They can pray to Allah or whomever, for seeds, rain, cement or whatever they need. Besides most of what we give them is stolen or given to the army. The people who need it most get very little, if anything.
9) Ship the UN Headquarters to an isolated island someplace. We don't need the spies and fair weather friends here. Besides, the building would make a good homeless shelter or lockup for illegal aliens.
10) All Americans must go to charm and beauty school. That way, no one can call us "Ugly Americans" any longer. The Language we speak is ENGLISH...learn it...or LEAVE...Now, isn't that a winner of a plan?
The Statue of Liberty is no longer saying "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses." She's got a baseball bat and she's yelling, "You want a piece of me?"
Robin Williams, George Carlin, what's the difference? It sounds good this morning.
Saturday, March 18, 2006
JOHN KASICH. Mr. Kasich has been a Managing Director in the InvestmentBanking Group at Lehman Brothers since January 2001, where he has responsibilities across a range of industry groups, including health care, powerand utilities, technology, retail and financial institutions. Prior to joining Lehman Brothers, Mr. Kasich was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Ohio's 12th Congressional District, from 1983 to 2000, and served as Chairman of the House Budget Committee from 1995-2000. Prior to serving in the U.S. Congress, Mr. Kasich was an Ohio State Senator for four years.
Friday, March 17, 2006
Thursday, March 16, 2006
If you support the ideas of sustainability and conservation, or just plain saving money, you need to give this RTA system a try. If you can, take a laptop. Increased usage of public transit and decreased air pollution may be good arguments for wi-fi around here for all, not just for the nonprofits and the government. Intel, are you listening?
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
To dramatically condense your sales cycle and eliminate the high cost of cold-market business development by providing high quality personal referrals to business owners and sales professionals calling on other companies.
We are still building the group, which will max out at 20 members. Drop by some first or third Friday at 0700 if this is something you think might be useful, or leave me a comment here.
Sunday, March 12, 2006
Saturday, March 11, 2006
Friday, March 10, 2006
Thursday, March 09, 2006
While we're talking about it, let's revisit the issue of those ubiquitous advertising kiosks we've had defiling the streetscape since late in the White administration. With them, we can talk about aesthetics, content, and revenue. Once the city entered the advertising business, how did they do, and if there was revenue, how much was it, and where did it go? Have we as a public experienced any benefit at all? How do we know? Do we take this as a matter of blind faith in The Partnership? How do these add to the visual clutter we already have of Muny Light and CEI/First Energy poles, above-ground cable, and phone wires? Has anyone else found the content sort of dumb, or offensive, or offensive because it's so dumb? Am I the only one that finds these kiosks an unwelcome intrusion, or an impediment to progress?
Should we also be talking about adopting utility trenches? I don't think an area seeking to curry favor with new, high-tech businesses can have its wires so obviously all-above-ground. What are the 9-11 type concerns? What are the interruption-of-service issues, when the wind blows or the ice forms all over? And, finally, what are the aesthetics?
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
- Ohio stands to gain the second most of all the states from wind power, second only to California (chart: More Wind, More Jobs, from the American Wind Energy Association)
- the cost of a kwh, I think, with wind energy is around 5 cents, and currently we up here pay in the 12-13 cent range from the electric companies, Fletcher thinks. Also, there is approximately a 1.9-cent tax credit, lowering the net cost further
- cost recovery time on the initial investment in wind energy is about 7-8 years
- Denmark has the most of this type of energy, followed by Germany
Also, we hear all the things government can't get done, or do well enough, because of all kinds of constraints. Consider the backed-up court dockets, for example. Remember your unreturned phone calls and emails. Consider, too, that the government hires outside contractors at additional cost, and still, lots goes undone.
It's time to make a career of "government service" just that--service, and to that end, I propose that we initiate immediately a minimum 50-hour work week for all government employees, at every level, for the same pay--either five days at 10 hours a day or 6 days at 8 hours a day, with credit for an additional 2 hours when Saturday work is required, as for public meetings and hearings. And, all of these public hearings should be held outside normal work hours.
If we haven't made government work harder, at least have it work longer, until if gets things right. When we need greater efficiencies, we need to look first to our existing assets--our salaried government workers.
Sunday, March 05, 2006
The kids don't pay me much heed for, after all, I am merely their dear, doofy dad. But now, I find that Matt and I are on the same page. The trouble is, will they listen to Matt?
On the way down to the market for the paper this morning, it came to me: Given that all three candidates are competent and have demonstrated abilities as turn-around administrators, the one that already loves this town is Bill; the other two still have to learn to love it.