“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Where O where will we find the energy we need?

Hat tip:Rufus

Chinese Company Is Near First Deal to Buy Stake in Oil Drilling Leases in Gulf of Mexico

Published: October 16, 2009
HOUSTON — Trying to acquire a foothold in the American oil patch, a Chinese company is closing in on a deal to buy stakes in a few drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico from a Norwegian company, an executive close to the talks said.

The prospective purchase would not do much to quench China’s huge and growing thirst for energy, which makes it the second-leading consumer of oil after the United States. But such an oil acquisition would be symbolically important as the first by China in the United States, coming four years after the Chinese company’s $18.5 billion bid for the American oil company Unocal collapsed under pressure from Congress.

Executives at StatoilHydro, the Norwegian national oil company, would neither confirm nor deny their negotiations with the Chinese, which were first reported Friday by Dow Jones Newswires. Zongwei Xiao, a spokesman for the Chinese company, known as Cnooc, said on Saturday morning that the company has a policy of not commenting on "rumors in the market."

But the negotiations between the companies are at an advanced stage, and a formal announcement could be made soon, according to the executive close to the talks, who said it was company policy not to discuss the negotiations. The executive cautioned that the talks were at a delicate stage.

The deal would include about 20 of StatoilHydro’s 451 leases in the Gulf of Mexico. But oil analysts said they saw symbolism in the move, particularly when Chinese companies were striving to acquire much larger oil reserves in Africa and Latin America.

“By dipping their toe, they are attempting to see if it’s politically safe to get into our waters,” said Larry Goldstein, a director of the Energy Policy Research Foundation. “There’s still a hangover from Unocal.”

With an expanding economy and a car fleet mushrooming with its middle class, China has been searching far and wide for oil reserves. In recent years China has formed alliances and joint ventures in Venezuela, Russia and Brazil to produce oil, and Chinese companies are competing to obtain large-scale contracts for exploration and development of fields in Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa.

Cnooc has increased its capital expenditures for exploration, development and production to a planned $6.8 billion this year, from $3.8 billion in 2007 and $5.7 billion in 2008, according to the company’s 2009 strategy preview report.

Several large American oil companies, including Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Devon Energy, have wide-ranging investments in China, from exploration and production offshore to marketing fuels and lubricants to Chinese consumers.

But China has had a rocky time investing in the United States energy patch. Cnooc, China National Offshore Oil Corporation, tried to make an $18.5 billion offer to buy Unocal Corporation in 2005. The Bush administration did not oppose it, but an array of powerful Democratic and Republican members of Congress strongly objected on national security grounds.

The purchase of a small stake in the Gulf from a Norwegian company is not likely to produce as large a reaction, especially when the Obama administration is trying to strengthen economic ties with the Chinese.

China National Petroleum Corporation held talks in March with Chevron to buy a minority interest in the Big Foot oil field in the Gulf of Mexico, but the Chinese company dropped out of the talks, apparently unhappy with the terms the American company offered.

The Gulf of Mexico accounts for about a quarter of the nation’s oil production, and its deepwater potential makes it the most exciting arena for oil exploration in the United States. Foreign oil companies like BP, Shell, StatoilHydro and the Brazilian company Petrobras have been investing heavily in the area.

Areas in the Middle East and Africa have more oil, but they can be challenging to explore because of political upheaval and because oil-rich countries are reluctant to cede control of their resources.

Amy Myers Jaffe, an energy specialist at Rice University, said it made sense for the Chinese to enter a partnership with a more experienced Western oil company in the Gulf to learn the advanced seismic and drilling technologies required to work in deep waters. She predicted little or no political opposition.

“It’s completely unthreatening,” she said. “There is no reason why any American should be concerned about a Chinese company taking a small stake in the Gulf of Mexico.”


  1. Kinda hard to get too upset when they're buying it from a "Norwegian" Company.

  2. As you all are aware, I have spent a goodly amount of time thinking about this "oil deal." There are contradictions, and conundrums, galore, in the "official" statistics.

    The best I can figure out is, China is using considerably more oil than they are admitting to. One reason they can get away with it is they are buying a lot of oil from the Mideast (OPEC,) and those countries, right now, have an interest in under-reporting their sales.

  3. Of course, one of the "contradictions" is: how can it be to both the buyer's and the sellers' perceived benefit to "under-report" the sales?

    The key word is "Perceived." China has to buy a lot of oil on the open market. The perception of shortages developing would, almost certainly, lead to higher prices on the Spot Market.

    The OPEC Producers are under "Quota." Cheating with China is fun, because "China" won't rat them out.

  4. From a Commentor at another website:

    If you won't more to worry about consider that China is in the process of buying the second largest refinery in the western hemisphere (Valero in Aruba). I don't have the numbers but the bulk of those products are shipped to the US. Screw with China and they might decide to shut down that plant for "repairs" for 6 months. As one might say:"It's a global game"

  5. A friend forwarded this to me this morning.

    "Recently, large demonstrations have taken place protesting the fact that Congess is not acting fast enough in addressing the issue of illegal immigration. Certain people are angry that the U.S. might actually want to protect its own borders, might make it harder to sneak into this country and, once here, make it harder (as an illegal immigrant) to stay indefinitely.

    "Let me see if I correctly understand the thinking behind these protests. Let's say I break into your house. Then, when you discover me in your house, you insist that I leave. But I say, 'I've made all the beds and washed the dishes and done the laundry and swept the floors; I've done all the things you don't like to do. I'm hard-working and honest (except for when I broke into your house).

    "According to the protesters, not only must you let me stay, you must add me to your family's insurance plan, educate my kids, and provide other benefits to me and to my family (my husband will do your yard work because he too is hard-working and honest, except for that breaking-in part).

    If you try to call the police or force me out, I will call my friends who will picket your house carrying signs that proclaim my illegal right to be there. It's only fair, after all, because you have a nicer house than I do, and I'm just trying to better myself. I'm hard-working and honest, um, except for, well, you know.

    And what a deal it is for me!! I live in your house, contributing only a fraction of the cost of my keep, and there is nothing you can do about it without being accused of selfishness, prejudice and being an anti-housebreaker.

    Oh yeah, and I want you to learn my language so you can communicate with me! English is too hard for me to learn. You should also allow me to vote - in my own language, since I live in your house!

    Why can't people see how ridiculous this is? Only in the good ole U.S.A. If you agree, pass it on(in English). Share it if you see the value of it as a good simile. If not, blow it off, along with your future."

  6. Rufus: Screw with China and they might decide to shut down that plant for "repairs" for 6 months.

    Screw with America and we might decide to reallocate Naval forces from the Strait of Malacca to the Taiwan Strait, and leave China's petro jugular vein open to piracy.

  7. Victor, our Ms. Senators (Republicans) voted against cloture on the amnesty bill, but they sure didn't want to. That Tyson, Hormel, and Smithfield money was a powerful attraction.

    They'll wear us down. When we're all tuckered out from protesting Government Run Healthcare, or Cap and Trade, or 1.4 Trillion Dollar Deficits, they'll sneak it in late at night on some bill, somewhere.

    The next 10 years are going to feel like 100.

  8. T, when the world gets, truly, thirsty I couldn't think of a lousier job than hijacking Chinese oil supplies.

    The "life expectancy" of such an occupation would surely make "door gunner" look good.

  9. Even though it is not reported upon there has been enough time gone by since the announcement of the Chinese building those Pana-Max tankers that we can assume they are coming on line.

    We can also assume that Charlie may not shut the production line down, after Hugo's order is finished. In which case they will continue to turn out Canal capable tankers, a vital link in getting oil from the Americas to the Chinese mainland.

    Rest assured that there is no guarantee that the refined product from that Valero refinery would not find a new market, in Asia.

  10. But viktor, if they had left their doors open with a sign out that said:

    "Maid Wanted - Come on in!"

    While they were vacationing in Cabo

    It'd be harder to blame the new maid than the owner of the house.

  11. Looks like California is getting ready to ban large screen TV's due to energy concerns. How does one go about buying stock in appliance stores centered in Nevada, Arizona, and Oregon?

    Will California ban Giant TVs?

  12. There's nothing to watch these days anyway, except maybe House (gotta love that Dr. Thirteen who goes either way if you get my drift)

  13. Another example (as if we needed any) to doubt that Washington will ever muster the courage to cut any entitlement program including Medicare.

    Buying off the Seniors

  14. Good heavens, T. You have the world series, hockey has just started up, the football season is going strong and the NBA will soon be starting. It's the best of all worlds.

  15. I stated a couple of months, ago, Q, that it will cost about $150 Billion/yr to add thirty million newbies to the insurace rolls.

    That's about $2,000.00 for most of us. We'll either pay it through higher insurance premiums, or higher taxes, or a combination of the two. But, we'll pay it.

  16. Quirk, I think you're talking about sports or something, I can hardly make out what you wrote.

  17. Rufus, the NET impact on the economy will be neutral, because right now the cost of going to the emergency room is being shifted, and the expanded health care system will employ many people. It's like when we built the new Narrows Bridge, sure it cost $700 million dollars, but we have a bridge...there's no depreciation. Value for value.

  18. Rat said:

    "But viktor, if they had left their doors open with a sign out that said:

    "Maid Wanted - Come on in!"

    While they were vacationing in Cabo

    It'd be harder to blame the new maid than the owner of the house."

    True enough, Rat. There's more than enough blame to go around. Those who encouraged illegal imigration have a lot to answer for. But there are far more who did not encourage it and they have every right to complain.

    The purpose of forwarding this letter of complaint is really to convey that people are not alone in their resentment and that they are entitled to it.

    Not that it will change anything. We're too far down the road for that.

    "You can't stop what's coming."

  19. "That's about $2,000.00 for most of us. We'll either pay it through higher insurance premiums, or higher taxes, or a combination of the two. But, we'll pay it."

    The problem is its going to get a lot harder for many of us to pay it.

    From a UAS Today article yesterday:

    "A bad economy and low inflation are starting to drag down wages for millions of everyday workers and freeze benefits for millions of retirees.
    Average weekly wages have fallen 1.4% this year for private-sector workers through September, after adjusting for inflation, to $616.11, a USA TODAY analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data found. If that trend holds, it will mark the biggest annual decline in real wages since 1991.

    The bureau's data cover 82% of private-sector workers but exclude managers and some higher-paid professionals.

    "Wages are usually the last thing to deteriorate in a recession," says economist Heidi Shierholz of the liberal Economic Policy Institute. "But it's happening now, and wages are probably going to be held down for a long time."

  20. This small homage to "driftwood art" has some distracting elements to it but the old farts around here should be immune.

    And I wouldn't concern myself with the young one. His unfortunate accident during surgery takes care of that little problem.

    Still, there may be someone who finds the distraction disturbing. While I can sympathize, all I can say is: "Close your eyes and think of England."

    Driftwood Art

  21. T, it could very well be positive for the economy, and, still, net negative for me, and thee.

    I just wish the Republicans had been smart enough to do this, themselves. I'm sure they could have done a better job of it. But, they didn't. So, here we are. Enjoy.

  22. "Where O where will we find the energy we need?"


  23. All I've heard about 'in the gulf'
    lately is other folks.

    I'd like to hear about some other folks 'in the gulf', an American company or two, somebody I get a credit card offer from in the msil.

  24. This is the day the Hawaiians are going to get clobbered by Idaho.

    I'm not sure, but I think so.

    We have been playing some damn good football, and we are at home.

  25. Rufus, I don't know what has happened to this nuclear energy plant here in south Idado.

    I haven't gotten an e-mail from them in some time, so I don't know.

    Things seemed on track, but I don't know what has phappened now.

    I'll try to find out.

  26. Here is a receipt for yesterday's payment. I
    called this morning and left a message on your
    phone that Bill is not requiring that the Rezone
    be paid for a 2nd time.


    I'm going to the game, going to get drunk, and the hell with this be paid for a 2nd time.

    And, Monday morning, I'm gettin' a new checking account.

  27. Bill is not requiring that the Rezone
    be paid for a 2nd time.

    May God's Gracefull Face Shine Upon Bill!

    I'll pay the fucker once, but I will go to court before I will that lazy fucker twice.

  28. but I will go to court before I will PAY that lazy fucker twice.

  29. Leora!@

    There is a hell of good name!

    She can cash my checks just as good as anybody else!

  30. I'm thinking of backing out of this fucker.

    Maybe Rat is right on the money.

  31. Building Permits Coordinator

    What bullshit.

    Papa,and his friends, built a decent town, now we got a fucking

    Building Permits Coordinator.


    I may just back out.

  32. Fuck it, I've told Leora and Susan not to spend any more money on my accout.

    I hope Ruf writes them a letter.

    He has a good pen, and mind.

  33. That sounds like a good move, bob. Stick by it.

  34. "I'm not saying Exxon is a bad company. Many oil companies are running up against the limits of growth. This is something that is affecting the entire Western oil industry, and will probably eventually spark a resource war in the Arctic, as the U.S., Canada, Russia and other countries fight over oil and gas resources literally at the end of the Earth."
    Yeah, the Dems fighting the American citizen, preventing us from drilling a single well.

  35. "Rufus, the NET impact on the economy will be neutral, because right now the cost of going to the emergency room is being shifted, and the expanded health care system will employ many people. It's like when we built the new Narrows Bridge, sure it cost $700 million dollars, but we have a bridge...there's no depreciation. Value for value."
    You Maroons that believe the largest, stupidest Big Govt idea yet will be the FIRST program that works and doesn't cost multiple times more than "anticipated" blow my mind.
    Faith Ejaculates Eternal.

  36. No appreciation whatsoever for what an incredible system we have now compared to what it will INEVITABLY BECOME.
    ...and all Rufus's sob stories will seem laughable compared to the misery of socialized medicine.

  37. U.S. Alters Disputed Immigration Rules for Police

    While opponents denounce the program as ineffective and prone to abuse, its defenders say there is no reason why illegal immigrants who have committed a crime, even if not of the most serious nature, should be allowed to remain in the United States.

    “Claims that the program was supposed to focus only on serious crimes are false,” said a joint statement by Representatives Trent Franks, a Republican whose district includes Maricopa County, and Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican who was an author of the 287(g) legislation. “In fact, the program was created to let state and local law enforcement officials help enforce all immigration laws, not a select few.”

    The debate continued to boil here on Friday, when protesters marched on Mr. Arpaio’s downtown office, as they regularly do, around the time his crime sweep got under way 20 miles away in Surprise.

    Later, at an outdoor news conference in Surprise, Mr. Arpaio said eight people suspected of being illegal immigrants had been arrested under a state statute that forbids human smuggling.

    “We will continue to do what we have been doing,” he said, fighting to speak over the din of shouting protesters.

  38. Doug, you have to understand something about what happens when the government spends money. The best way to illustrate it is to consider the Apollo moon program, which cost a total of $24 billion dollars. Neil and Buzz didn't unload $24 billion dollars of bills on pallets on the surface of the moon and leave it there, what really happened was the money paid salaries for thousands of people in every state of the Union, and those people paid for groceries and bought cars, etc, etc. Now don't get me wrong, I oppose a socialized, national health-care system that involves coercion of any kind, but I was analyzing what would happen to the overall economy if it was put into place, and it strikes me as relatively benign, unlike high fuel costs, which results in money flowing OUT of the country to Iran, Venezuela, and Russia.

  39. Get out now, Bobal, they smell a sucker and they're taking you for a ride, cut your losses.

  40. Screw it.

    I've just sent a formal letter to my Lady Lawyer, saying I will just grow alfalfa.

    I don't really need it, I can just as well grow alfalfa, Rat may well have it right about the economics, I'm better off with out it.

    I did want to name some roads after some of you good guys, though.

    That pissed me off.

    It just gets too expensive.

    That is the end of it for this generation.


  41. It'll still wreck a great system, and pay for a bunch of non-productive Mini Czars and Paper Pushers.
    ...and grow forever.
    Not quite the same as paying for scientists, engineers, machinists, and etc.

  42. Harvard University’s failed bet that interest rates would rise cost the world’s richest school at least $500 million in payments to escape derivatives that backfired.

    The annual report provides new details on Harvard’s derivative-related losses. Many were entered into in 2004, said Harvard spokeswoman Christine Heenan. Lawrence Summers, director of President Barack Obama’s National Economic Council, was the university’s president at the time. White House spokesman Matthew Vogel declined to comment.

  43. bob,

    That truly is the best news I have ever read here at the Elephant Bar.

    You have just begun scratching the surface of the problems and expenses that you would encounter if you move forward.

    All kidding and/or vitriol aside.

  44. While I have no real complaint about nuclear power, we have the largest plant in the US just west of Phoenix, it is time intense, from proposal to power production. As bob's Idaho experience illustrates.

    While small clean burning natural gas fired generators can be easily installed to deliver power in localized service areas, while also providing depth to the grid.

    Without a lot of lead time required.

    Con-Ed has been using these in the NYCity metro area extensively, I do believe.

    The entire debate, about electricity production misses the real point of the energy challenge that matters. Liquid fuel that can energize our existing fleet of vehicles.

    That is the crux of the challenge and to much time spent debating electricity is really wasted effort.

  45. The US has an almost endless supply of coal, that if push came to shove, we'd burn to light our cities and industry.

    We'd scrub the soot out, easily, and welcome the CO2 during the coming solar sleeping cycle of few sunspots.

    The Little Ice Age, when they put markets and shops on the frozen Thames River in London during the last cycle.

  46. Thanks, Rat.

    I'm happy I am out of it.

  47. 'Rat:
    Those distributed gas plants would easily lend themselves to steam heat, greatly increasing the overall efficiency.
    Agree about electricity and hydrogen.
    We shall see about Rufus's dream fuel.
    I vote for methanol from coal.
    Tested by Adolf in the (semi) real World.

  48. One Way Trip to Titan

    In the advertiser's own persuasive and humane words: "I am certain you will make it safely to Titan but there will not be enough fuel to get home. This is for someone unique that has always wanted to see the universe first-hand and has perhaps a terminal view on life here at home. Here's your shot at romantic history."

    Yes, that's right. You won't be coming back. At all. Ever. So perhaps you might want to check what the nightlife is like on Titan. Because that might be the only way you could really create romantic history.

  49. Bobal, when the Predators feed too heavily in the Prey, and reduce their population to zero (by making them abort their permit applications with overweening bullshit) their whole structure comes crashing down.

  50. Not exactly true, Ms T.

    There are locales that have revoked the impact fees that totaled tens of thousands of dollars. Saw a story just yesterday from Florida.

    After the fees were revoked, there was no recovery.

    So maybe you are right, the risk takers are extinct, but I doubt it.
    Now is a good time to buy, in the depressed real estate market, if you have cash.

  51. Pakistan launches all-out assault on Taliban with an extra 30000 troops - ‎2 hours ago‎

    Pakistan threw more than 30000 soldiers into a long-anticipated ground offensive against al-Qaida and Taliban strongholds along the Afghan border yesterday, following two weeks in which militants have killed more than 175 people across the country.

  52. This comment has been removed by the author.

  53. Pakistan threw more than 30,000 soldiers into a long-anticipated ground offensive against al-Qaida and Taliban strongholds along the Afghan border yesterday, following two weeks in which militants have killed more than 175 people across the country. Early reports suggested the advancing troops were meeting fierce resistance from Taliban fighters.

    The United States has been pushing the government to carry out the assault in South Waziristan, which it must now attempt to complete before the onset of winter snows in early December.

    Pakistan has fought three unsuccessful campaigns since 2001 in the region, which is the heartland of Pakistani insurgents fighting the US-backed government. The area is also a major base for foreign militants planning attacks on Nato forces in Afghanistan and on targets in the west. Pakistani sources claim there are up to 1,500 foreign fighters and 10,000 local Taliban fighters in the region.

    After months of aerial bombing, Pakistan's cabinet yesterday ordered troops into the region from several directions, heading to the insurgent bases of Ladha and Makeen, among other targets.

  54. What i was going to say, doug, before I saw that Paki story ....

    The idea that agriculture, which is one of our strongest suites, could help to fuel our economy is just to good to pass up.

    Corn is not the solution, but part of the DC problem. Regardless of that there are crops which lend themselves to much more efficient production standards than corn.

    The crop land is available and standing fallow in most places. I have linked to the study done with regards the mid-Atlantic States and the agricultural ethanol opportunities there. Hardy crops on marginal land.

  55. Pakistan threw more than 30,000 soldiers into a long-anticipated ground offensive against al-Qaida and Taliban strongholds along the Afghan border yesterday, following two weeks in which militants have killed more than 175 people across the country. Early reports suggested the advancing troops were meeting fierce resistance from Taliban fighters.

    Is there no out cry from the world calling for a cease fire? how about pakistan allowing food and observers in?

    what a crime! Isnt pakistan using disproportional force? 200,000 civilians forced to flee!!!!! all because ONLY 175 people were killed?

    where is the UN security council?

  56. china can be our partner -
    Anita Dunn's going to speak with them


  57. Pakistan's got the same ROE's as us, WIO.
    They ain't got a chance.

  58. Walmart's same store sale sales are down a couple of points from a year ago, they are the retail market leader.

    Their traffic counts are up, but the size of the average basket has shrunk.

    There will be a continued downsizing, across the board.

    Wages have dropped, according to that earlier post. Housing values are slashed, with a high percentage of homes in trustee foreclosure sales. Even in counter-cyclical college towns.

    I do not know if rents are softening, but you'd have suppose that they should, to reflect the lower values. Or is there a utilitarian bottom to the rental market?

    Never have dealt with rental properties.

  59. Right here, man of "misdirection" is the first call of protest, in England.

    Pakistan PM: 'Fight for the survival of the country'

    As Pakistan claims to have killed 700 Taliban, refugees from the Swat conflict flood into 'intolerable' makeshift camps

    Not two hours into the fight and the civilians are being treated to "intolerable" conditions.

    Right on the NORMAL schedule for such things.

  60. desert rat said...
    Right here, man of "misdirection" is the first call of protest, in England.

    Thanks for the name calling rat... proves your still a shit head....

  61. Blogger desert rat said...


    That truly is the best news I have ever read here at the Elephant Bar.

    You have just begun scratching the surface of the problems and expenses that you would encounter if you move forward.

    All kidding and/or vitriol aside."


    Aren't y'all succumbing to the nasty "Great Recession" of the moment? Don't many a folk make a fortune splitting one plot into many and selling 'em off? I mean, c'mon 25 bucks a lot, even doubled to 50 bucks is peanuts (ya, ya, I know there are other permitting expenses ect. but...), really, that is peanuts in the development game.

    Mind you a guy who worries about spending 40 bucks for a bottle of wine really shouldn't try to make a million or two! It takes money to make money, no? By the time these plots came up for sale (what a year or two from now) don't you think things actually might be trending up in real estate by then? How much are you gonna make farming and selling alfalfa at this stage in your life? How much can you make selling the suckers? How much capital are you risking versus how much can you possibly make. I thought Americans were risk takers ;)

    ...just sayin'...


    Book publishers are worried they and retail chains could be caught in the cross fire as Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. ratchet up their price war over online book sales.

    Wal-Mart triggered the online skirmish Thursday when it began selling its 10 most anticipated hardcovers for $10 apiece when pre-ordered on its Web site. Amazon matched the offer hours later and Wal-Mart then chopped its price to $9. Friday morning Amazon had matched the price.

    "I'm worried about the major book-selling chains, and I'm concerned about the implications for publishers and the public alike," saidDavid Young, chief executive of Lagardere SCA's Hachette Book Group, one of the country's largest book publishers. He and other publishers said they feared the online pricing could hurt small independent book sellers and big retail chains.

    A spokesman said Friday that the discount giant was prepared to make further cuts. The retailer's Web site will continue to adjust its prices, spokesman Ravi Jariwala said in an email, "so that offers the lowest online prices." Late Friday afternoon, it dropped its price a penny, to $8.99. CEO Raul Vazquez said in an interview Thursday that the retailer "will go as low as we need to" to underscore's intent to be a low-price leader online. The retailer this month has sought to expand its Web presence, creating an Amazon-like online marketplace for other retailers and offering home delivery for purchases such as shampoo and diapers.

    Amazon declined to comment on the price wars.</i

  63. No, ash, it will not be trending back up in a year from now.

    There is way to much "slack" in the market for that to happen in such a short time frame.

    56% of the homes in that market were in distressed sales, pre-foreclosure or trustee sales.

    That will not be "worked out" in a year.

    The expenses are astronomical, when the property tax dispute is factored in. The "bump" in the tax would be five fold, at a minimum guess.
    This tax would stand as a legal lien until disputed and discharged by a Court. That is where the fun really begins.

    Holding lots, with the infrastructure built on borrowed money, while your young lawyer battles the City Attorney at the State Capital.

    Even if the infrastructure goes unbuilt, the change in zoning triggers the tax increase, which still has to then be litigated.

    Fightin' the Leviathan out of pocket.

  64. The per diem expenses and the travel charges would cause a heart attack.

  65. Well, Doug-O, there's a bunch of things that CAN be done. Unfortunately we probably don't have enough time to do most of them.

    We're in the soup pretty good in 2011. Probably drowning in it by 2012. I, personally, think the mid-term solution will be a combination of ethanol, batteries, and petro.

    Short-term, it's buy a flexfuel car, and a still. Of course, everyone can't brew their own. Too bad.

    The gang here will be okay. If you've got a buck, you can buy a hybrid, or just a high mileage car, or pay the price. It's all those folks out there, barely getting by, credit busted by the recession, stuck in an old gas guzzler that's well, and truly screwed. For them, $4.00 Gasoline is gonna bite. $6.00 Gasoline - well, who knows?

    Those "same-store sales" will continue to fall. Real Estate prices will contine to drop. Unemployment will continue to rise. The Government will run larger, and larger deficits with plummeting tax revenues. That will cause the Dollar to sink even further.

    Rinse, Repeat.

    Admittedly, that's the bad scenario. Unfortunately, it's not the "worst-case" scenario.

    It could get ugly.

  66. Then, ash, when and if the City loses in Court and the land reverts back to its' agricultural rate, the City will impose impact fees, instead.

    There is ample precedent for them to do so, and the economic argument would be clear, if the upgraded property cannot be taxed at the upgraded rate. The City has to then charge per lot, a one time fee. Perhaps at the construction permit phase, but that would still be factored into the lots retail value.

    Scenes that I've seen before.

  67. I have no credentials as a "Financial" Advisor. And, I sure as hell don't know Anything about the Real Estate Development business. But, personally, you couldn't get me to borrow a dollar to do a real estate deal, right now, if you put the biggest pistol in the history of the world to my head.

    I'd rather get shot, now, than have to go through the misery that such a deal could cause in the next few years.

    I think we could be in for one hell of a mess. No "Alligators" wanted, today.

  68. You laugh at million dollar military toilets now, but when Jihadi EMP makes your town's sewer system run backwards it won't seem so funny.

  69. I've sent this thread onto my Lady Lawyer.

    With a note attached to send a copy on to the Community whatever her name is...

    I've come to believe whenever you have the word 'Community' involved, you are in for trouble.

    I'm into it twenty thousand dollars now, which is my engineering fees, and I'd like to just buy a nice new pickup truck...or some really nice clothes for the it is I am just driving around in an Aveo rental car, our Nissan having gotten smashed by a school bus....

    I haven't even gotten to the first phase of the Planning and Zoning (unelected) yet, and there are two phases of that....

    Basically none of my ideas have been accpeted by the City, it's all been their design....

    If the City wants to do business, let them be upfront.

    I would need to at least have an answer, is it a go or no go?

    I'm backing out, till I hear something positive from them....

    I doubt I will...



  70. The wife just called from Mt. Vernon, where she is visiting a friend....

    she says, back out

    her intuition is always pretty good....



  71. Alfalfa, you got that little cowlick standing straight up on your head?

  72. Hi Bob,

    I just wanted to let you know that I will be filing the applications for rezone and preliminary plat tomorrow. The filing fee for the rezone application is $585 and the filing fee for the preliminary plat application (for Community Development only) is $560. I will cover these preliminary fees and put them on your invoice. The preliminary plat has additional engineering fees of a flat $200 plus $25 per lot. Since you are looking at 110 lots, you can expect your engineering fees to be $2,950. I wasn't sure if Jack went through these fees with you or not, so I wanted to make sure you knew what they were. I think we can get the preliminary application started and the P&Z hearing scheduled with the payment of the Community Development fees ($1145). I'm not sure when they will require the engineering fees to be paid, but will let you know.

    You can add $4,095 in just preliminary city fees to your list of costs and expenses. . .

    Let me know if you have any questions or concerns.


    I've got concerns. For instance, the first part of the development has five acres to city parks. That is half of the first ten acres, and I have to build all the streets, sewers, ect.

    The parks aren't even used in this small town, as even the Park Director has testified.

    I'll have to build the start of an arterial highway, a major, major undertaking. With a couple of little offshoot streets to the sides.

    I might, underline might be able to get a few thousands bucks from some neighbors for opening their land up to development.

    They will vote, or their representative will vote, for me of course, when it comes to a vote.

    When you add up all the fees, unending, and the costs of construction, I'm a fool to go ahead with this project.

    It just doesn't pencil out.

    If I were really rich, I might be able to build the streets for the whole forty acres, but I am simply not that rich. I'd be looking at maybe three million dollars, if I could get a good bid from Albright and Sons, which I can't do.

    So I am looking at them coming up from Lewiston two or three times.

    Then I have to look at if I can even sell something to somebody.

    I am a little more optimistic than say Rat about this, but it is truly risky.

    My wife is right, with her intuition, this project is dead in the water.

    Time to go on permanent vacation.


  73. The cowlick is standing up, but it is from financial fear.

  74. Honestly, I am telling you the truth, the Park Director himself has stated in public meetiings that he can't take care of the parks we have now, they aren't even used, most of them are sitting unused, undeveloped, but the law is on the books, passed some years ago, I've got got to fork it over.

    Or, just raise alfalfa.



  75. Passed some years ago by a foolish City Council, and now they have a guy that will just grow


  76. Besides, my bank, a small but growing bank, but conservative with their money, isn't going to fund this project.

    This project is dead.

    Courtesy of the local Ash like lead City Council, thank you very much.


  77. It's Ash like folk that will bring you your needed medical care in your dying years.

    You have that to look forward to.


  78. Bobal, God bless you and I'll see you tomorrow.