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Messages - MarcNelsonJr

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1
How is the Allegany Museum getting so much money thrown at it?

Very good question.

2
Local Politics / Re: Footer Dye Works @ Canal Place
« on: January 23, 2015, 04:44:24 PM »
Also of note is the absence this year of the usual ($15 million) appropriation for bond bills. All these little pet projects are going to be scrambling for pieces of a much smaller pie.

3
Local Politics / Re: Footer Dye Works @ Canal Place
« on: January 23, 2015, 02:11:55 PM »
The capital budget is out. I don't think I see anything in there about the Footer, but it's a big document - take a look:

http://www.dbm.maryland.gov/agencies/capbudget/Documents/2016CapBudBook.pdf

4
Local Politics / Re: Footer Dye Works @ Canal Place
« on: January 22, 2015, 08:33:36 PM »
You also just rejected any efforts to put time, energy, or money into your own proposed solution, while still feeling entitled to call out others for supporting options that are actually on the table.

Huh?

Boldly pronouncing you aren't constrained by the possible outcomes doesn't change the outcomes that are available.

4. Sell the building outright.
5. Demolish the building and sell the lot/sell the lot to someone who demolishes the building.

Any others?

5
Local Politics / Re: Footer Dye Works @ Canal Place
« on: January 22, 2015, 05:32:01 PM »
Obviously no one wants to put their money on the line now, not with "free" taxpayer money on the table, crowding out other options. But take that away, and other options may look more attractive.

Of course, we could go the way of Sacred Heart.  What happened there?  Didn't local government do a horse trade for that building and we the taxpayers are currently paying to tear it down?

My point is that the property has some value, without the building. That value brings down the cost of demolition, negating some of the "spend now or spend later" argument. WMHS didn't spend a dime to tear down their much larger building.

Your best comp for how to get out from under a bad investment is pushing the cost on government to demolish an old white elephant building.  Well, that has already happening in this case.  The State owns the Footer.

To avoid spending government money, we need an idea that currently isn't on the table, and a person willing to work to make it happen.  If you aren't that person, you are limited to the choices that currently exist:

1. Taxpayers pay to tear it down
2. Taxpayers pay to work with developer to fix it up.
3. Taxpayers pay for both, if #2 fails

You say the other options don't exist - I say they have not been fully explored yet.

It seems like this has been going on for a long time, but that's because the property was tied up in an agreement that gave the developer exclusive rights without requiring any commitment. (Hey, that sounds familiar! :) )

The CPPDA and the developer want to turn this into a sudden crisis because they think it helps their agenda. By putting the public at gunpoint, they hope to extract maximum funding. I reject any effort to constrain discussion of all possible outcomes.

6
Local Politics / Re: Footer Dye Works @ Canal Place
« on: January 22, 2015, 03:00:07 PM »
I am still waiting to hear what the 3rd rail option is that avoids the state having to spend millions of dollars on the Footer Building.  And no, kicking the can down the road doesn't inherently change the binary options here.  The state owns the building.  It doesn't look like they could give it away if they wanted to.

The other option is more private money.

Heck, the mayor is sponsoring posts on Facebook to drum up support for the subsidy plan. If people are willing to spend money on that, surely they would be willing to spend it on directly supporting the development.

I'd kick in a few bucks to get my name on a plaque. :) Wouldn't you?

Do you honestly think the facts to this point support the idea that more private money is an option?  We had two RFPs go out, the first came back with zero submissions.  Even the entire parcel came back with just two.

The one that was accepted is the only person I know of in the last 10 years that has expressed a genuine and continued interest in trying to invest in rehabbing that building.  That person is the guy with the offer on the table right now.

I think it is loonier to believe there is a way the state can get out from under this situation without spending millions, than it is to believe a public/private partnership of investment can lead to the creation of a community asset.

So, are you willing to support state funding to tear the building down? Now, or in the future? 

Ace supports state investment to tear it down now.  I can respect that opinion, as there is risk involved, and the possibility does exist of the "double spend."  Will you say the same?

I've already suggested the idea of private fundraising, if private investment is not forthcoming.

There is also the option of selling the property for a nominal fee to someone who will demolish the building at their own expense - as recently happened with the Sacred Heart hospital campus.

So you don't want to pay for rehab, you don't want to pay for demolition.  You wish to suggest an option that no individual is actually doing or proposing as your solution to the problem.  Since you are the one proposing it, and the idea could save us taxpayers millions of dollars, a real benefit to us all, are you going to invest yourself in the idea you support, like you are demanding from the supporters of the other options?

My suggestions don't involve forcibly taking money from taxpayers to subsidize a developer. Anyone could contribute to them or not, of their own choice.

Obviously no one wants to put their money on the line now, not with "free" taxpayer money on the table, crowding out other options. But take that away, and other options may look more attractive.

Of course, we could go the way of Sacred Heart.  What happened there?  Didn't local government do a horse trade for that building and we the taxpayers are currently paying to tear it down?

My point is that the property has some value, without the building. That value brings down the cost of demolition, negating some of the "spend now or spend later" argument. WMHS didn't spend a dime to tear down their much larger building.

7
Local Politics / Re: Footer Dye Works @ Canal Place
« on: January 22, 2015, 01:15:50 PM »
I am still waiting to hear what the 3rd rail option is that avoids the state having to spend millions of dollars on the Footer Building.  And no, kicking the can down the road doesn't inherently change the binary options here.  The state owns the building.  It doesn't look like they could give it away if they wanted to.

The other option is more private money.

Heck, the mayor is sponsoring posts on Facebook to drum up support for the subsidy plan. If people are willing to spend money on that, surely they would be willing to spend it on directly supporting the development.

I'd kick in a few bucks to get my name on a plaque. :) Wouldn't you?

Do you honestly think the facts to this point support the idea that more private money is an option?  We had two RFPs go out, the first came back with zero submissions.  Even the entire parcel came back with just two.

The one that was accepted is the only person I know of in the last 10 years that has expressed a genuine and continued interest in trying to invest in rehabbing that building.  That person is the guy with the offer on the table right now.

I think it is loonier to believe there is a way the state can get out from under this situation without spending millions, than it is to believe a public/private partnership of investment can lead to the creation of a community asset.

So, are you willing to support state funding to tear the building down? Now, or in the future? 

Ace supports state investment to tear it down now.  I can respect that opinion, as there is risk involved, and the possibility does exist of the "double spend."  Will you say the same?

I've already suggested the idea of private fundraising, if private investment is not forthcoming.

There is also the option of selling the property for a nominal fee to someone who will demolish the building at their own expense - as recently happened with the Sacred Heart hospital campus.

8
Local Politics / Re: Footer Dye Works @ Canal Place
« on: January 22, 2015, 01:08:22 PM »
If someone is willing to buy the building for $1, I would support that 100%.

If someone is willing to buy the lot for $1 and demolish the building at their expense, I would also support that 100%.

9
Local Politics / Re: Footer Dye Works @ Canal Place
« on: January 22, 2015, 11:43:15 AM »
I am still waiting to hear what the 3rd rail option is that avoids the state having to spend millions of dollars on the Footer Building.  And no, kicking the can down the road doesn't inherently change the binary options here.  The state owns the building.  It doesn't look like they could give it away if they wanted to.

The other option is more private money.

Heck, the mayor is sponsoring posts on Facebook to drum up support for the subsidy plan. If people are willing to spend money on that, surely they would be willing to spend it on directly supporting the development.

I'd kick in a few bucks to get my name on a plaque. :) Wouldn't you?

10
Local Politics / Re: Footer Dye Works @ Canal Place
« on: January 22, 2015, 10:57:16 AM »
Mr. Joy wants to invest in Cumberland, I say let him. How does letting $1.5 million in state capital funds benefit Cumberland if it is sent somewhere else?

It doesn't, but you have made a false choice here. 

We could be seeking $1.5 million from the state on roads/schools/additional prosecutors/judges/public defenders etc.  Instead, we are seeking to invest $1.5 million in a building that, even after spending the money, has a shot of being torn down and that no developer is willing to commit to.

And then, when the next capital project comes along, the state is rather irked that its $1.5 million is sent down previously was squandered.  It makes it that much harder to get funds for a worthy project.

It is also a false choice to say that we can simply slide over that 1.5 million dollar request to another area of need and have an equal chance of getting the money.

I mean, if I could choose between getting 1.5 million for the Footer, or 1.5 million to help our struggling criminal justice system, I would choose the criminal justice system.  But as far as I know that sort of horse trading isn't an option.

There is the concept of political capital, which is a scarce currency (especially scarce in our circumstances) - that you only get so many asks.

We're also asking for, among other things:

- a new high school
- a new interstate highway
- a combined sewer overflow facility

Do we want to spend our scarce political capital to help a dysfunctional agency subsidize a restaurant?

11
Local Politics / Re: Footer Dye Works @ Canal Place
« on: January 22, 2015, 10:46:32 AM »
if project x costs 500 apples.
and i come to the table with 400 apples, asking for help with the last 100, have i not made a substantial investment promise of apples?
is that not what joy is doing?
on one side of the coin i see a guy with 85% of the funds needed to do something and people saying let's not lose that 85% and give him the 15%.
we may lose 15%, but we also may many times that in return.
on the other side i see a guy with 85% of the funds needed to do something and people saying screw that 85% if he doesn't have 100% we give him nothing.
we may lose nothing, or we may gain nothing.
but we will definitely not gain something in scenario number two if the deal is gone.
both scenarios offer the potential for losses.
only one scenario offers the potential for gains.

We don't know how much private money is involved. All we know about for sure is the $2 million in tax credits and the $1.5 for windows, roof, parking, etc..

And we are assuming that the $1.5 million is the last bit needed, but we don't know that, either. There could be more requests down the road.

"Promise" is the key word there - not "commitment" or "contract."

12
Local Politics / Re: Footer Dye Works @ Canal Place
« on: January 21, 2015, 05:22:18 PM »
Hey, I already suggested a method of raising the needed funds:

- Crowdfunding

Our economic development initiatives tend to be these massive projects that involving moving mountains to get done. Think North/South highway.

How about some small and achievable accomplishments? Like getting a business off the ground, or helping one expand? I'm sure most of you have heard of Kickstarter. (If not, here's a little bit about how it works.)

I think it would be neat to throw in a couple of bucks to help someone start their business. $5 gets you on the plaque on the wall... $500, you get your name on a sandwich. :) And existing businesses can do the same - maybe the carry-out needs a new pizza oven or the garage needs a lift.

You don't have to ask anyone's permission, you don't have to get any approvals or variances or whatever... Just make your case to the public and spread the word..

This time next year, we could be sitting in the Caporale Dining Room at the Grim Table eating Nathan Burgers. :)

13
Local Politics / Re: Footer Dye Works @ Canal Place
« on: January 21, 2015, 05:05:40 PM »
The $8 million total includes the $2 million in tax credits and the $1.5 million in direct state spending, I believe.

As for how much private money is actually going in, we have no idea. At first we were told that the $1.5 million wasn't necessary; now it is said to be the deal-breaker. If the $1.5 million comes through, is that going to be enough? Or is just the foot in the door to leverage additional handouts? Without a contract, all we can do is hope.

Yes, the state owns the building. But that initial mistake is no good reason to make further mistakes. The same argument being used to justify this expenditure will be used to justify the next one - "Well, we already put in $1.5 million..."

The difference between this project and say, a fire truck, is that a brewpub is not a public good. There's a "we" in the former, but not the latter. I wouldn't  expect individuals to invest in a fire truck. But a brewpub can easily be financed by those who expect to benefit from it - they just don't want to.

No matter what happens, I would hope you wouldn't leave public discourse. We would all be poorer for it. Nathan, you're a public good! ;)

14
Local Politics / Re: Footer Dye Works @ Canal Place
« on: January 21, 2015, 02:40:00 PM »
Well, check that, if we refuse to invest the public money towards rehab, we can be pretty sure there will be no private money coming.

The stumbling block is the $1.5 million, not where it comes from. Windows and roofs installed with private money would work just as well.

What's stopping Joy from raising the money, other than the total unwillingness of absolutely anyone to take that risk?

I say it is worth the chance.

But no one who says that is willing to back that belief up with money. Oh, Dave Caporale is on board - with your money, not his. He's a smart, successful businessman... Why isn't he in on this can't-miss opportunity?

Even the guy with the most experience in rehabbing old buildings is saying, "Nope - not with my money." If Michael Joy doesn't believe in it, why should anyone else?

15
Local Politics / Re: Footer Dye Works @ Canal Place
« on: January 21, 2015, 02:16:45 PM »
Nathan, you're overlooking the obvious. We have the private party willing and able. It is the public party that is the hold up.

The private party may be willing, but he is not able. That's why he's asking for $1.5 million in taxpayer dollars (plus $2 million in tax credits).

Currently, the building is a money pit costing the taxpayer money. If this deal falls through how long should the taxpayers endure the cost?   

Again, if the goal is to preserve and develop the Footer building does the state have to own it? If a deal can be struck to have Joy own the property and assume the risk--isn't it in the taxpayers interest?

Joy won't assume the risk of signing a binding contract. What makes you think he wants to pay taxes on a building that he can't afford to develop?

16
Local Politics / Re: Footer Dye Works @ Canal Place
« on: January 21, 2015, 01:47:09 PM »
Nathan,

I would agree with you if there was something keeping the developer and the tenant in the game after spending $1.5 million.  A developer has expressed interest and a restaurant has expressed a "desire" to be in the building.  In my experience, when a developer has real interest they sign something called a "contract" and when a restaurant is interested in a space, they sign something called a "lease."

If we spend $1.5 million, what is to keep the developer from walking away?  What is to keep the developer from saying I need more government money to make this work?  And then what do we do?  Do we tear down the building with new windows in it? 

By putting $1.5 million into this, we may be making this building impossible to tear down and walk away from, because no one will ever admit that the $1.5 million was a waste. So they will keep sinking taxpayer dollars into this. 

Once you have invested the first dollar in the monorail.....

Rocky Gap II... Memorial Hospital II... Canal Place, like, IV? We're still paying - literally still making bond payments - on our past politically-driven bad "investments." Will we ever learn?

From the reception this thing seems to be getting on the mayor's Facebook page, Mr. Joy should have no problem raising the money he needs. If everyone is willing to put their money where their mouth is, this would be a fine project.

But somehow, no one's confidence stretches quite that far...  ;)

The state owns the building.  Every taxpayer in the state already has skin in the game, and will be putting in more once money is spent to tear it down, or try to rehab it.  Objections to the idea of public/private partnerships and state ownership of land are duly noted, but at this point are sunk costs. They are statements about the way the world "should be" as opposed to addressing the reality staring us directly in the face.

In reality, Joy has several partners. I'm sure he would welcome more given his lack of capital. There is nothing stopping the supporters of this project from directly supporting it with their own funds - except for their lack of enthusiasm for risking their own money as opposed to someone else's.

Rocky Gap II... Memorial Hospital II... Canal Place, like, IV? We're still paying - literally still making bond payments - on our past politically-driven bad "investments." Will we ever learn?

They have a saying for this......"it's why they play the games."  Could the venture fail?  Sure.  Do these past results predict the future? Not even close.  There are too many variables in play.  The scenarios had different developers with a different track records, different buildings, different cost requests, different levels of government involvement. 

I agree that mistakes of the past are relevant for purposes of determining the level of risk involved, but to make a blanket statement that since Project A failed, Project B will fail is incorrect.

What those failures all have in common is a lack of commitment on the part of the private partner and overexposure to risk on the part of the taxpayer - that's the same situation we have here.

If Joy was willing to put his own money on the line by signing a contract, there would be much less apprehension. Isn't it odd that absolutely no one is willing to take this risk with their own money? What does that tell you about the level of risk and the expected return?

17
Allegany County Discussion / Re: Local Crime Issues
« on: January 21, 2015, 12:10:02 PM »
If they've already failed to appear, isn't that a pretty good indication that they might fail to appear again?

 I am willing to bet being arrested again (and all things that go with that, the booking, holding, case search record etc.), plus irritating the judge who will decide on a sentence in the inevitable plea deal ( if there is a trial on driving without a license or underage drinking, the state has already lost money).

Do you really think these people are going to flee?  Should we hold them for a few months at taxpayer expense so they can get their probation/community service deal for underage drinking?

I think making them post bail would be reasonable, after they've already failed to appear once.

18
Allegany County Discussion / Re: Local Crime Issues
« on: January 21, 2015, 11:28:53 AM »
If they've already failed to appear, isn't that a pretty good indication that they might fail to appear again?

19
Allegany County Discussion / Re: Footer's
« on: January 21, 2015, 11:26:54 AM »
I'd rather pay some money to have something - jobs and commerce - than pay an out of town construction company to tear the building down. That's called a no-brainer.

Then go ahead. Mr. Joy would welcome your investment. How much of your money are you willing to risk on this venture?

20
Local Politics / Re: Footer Dye Works @ Canal Place
« on: January 21, 2015, 11:22:14 AM »
Nathan,

I would agree with you if there was something keeping the developer and the tenant in the game after spending $1.5 million.  A developer has expressed interest and a restaurant has expressed a "desire" to be in the building.  In my experience, when a developer has real interest they sign something called a "contract" and when a restaurant is interested in a space, they sign something called a "lease."

If we spend $1.5 million, what is to keep the developer from walking away?  What is to keep the developer from saying I need more government money to make this work?  And then what do we do?  Do we tear down the building with new windows in it? 

By putting $1.5 million into this, we may be making this building impossible to tear down and walk away from, because no one will ever admit that the $1.5 million was a waste. So they will keep sinking taxpayer dollars into this. 

Once you have invested the first dollar in the monorail.....

Rocky Gap II... Memorial Hospital II... Canal Place, like, IV? We're still paying - literally still making bond payments - on our past politically-driven bad "investments." Will we ever learn?

From the reception this thing seems to be getting on the mayor's Facebook page, Mr. Joy should have no problem raising the money he needs. If everyone is willing to put their money where their mouth is, this would be a fine project.

But somehow, no one's confidence stretches quite that far...  ;)

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